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Review: Eternity Girl #1

EternityGirl1Cover“Laid yourself out under the stars. Some peace at last so don’t be sad. A fitting end to your end…” from “Some Kind of Nothingness” by Manic Street Preachers (2010)

Abandon hope all ye who enter here, this article is more of a self-therapy session than a review of a DC comic book. Gallows humor about suicide, therapy sessions, cake and vodka veg out time on the couch, Eternity Girl #1 is definitely not your typical superhero/espionage book. This new book from Magdalene Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Chris Chuckry fits like a glove with the Young Animal imprint’s ethos of telling stories about strange, yet extraordinary individuals that explore universal human themes in an experimental way with a psychedelic color palette. Caroline Sharp, the superhero/spy operative formerly known as Chrysalis or Eternity Girl (See the “Milk Wars” backups.) has been suspended because her shapeshifting abilities glitched and hurt a fellow Alpha 13 operative. She has to get the green light from her therapist before going back to active duty, but that seems light years away. Really, Caroline just wants to die and collapse in the nothingness of Chuckry’s electric blue  color palette.

To steal a phrase/cliché from an old children’s game, Liew’s art in Eternity Girl #1 can be light as a feather or stiff as a board depending on the mental state of our suicidal, “elemental superwoman” protagonist. When she dissociates, Liew’s pencils are fluid as Caroline becomes an energy wave, almost one with the universe. But when she’s forced to take up space in public, Liew’s sharp, rigid lines make you feel the pain in her body as she tries to maintain a frail human form on public transportation. He also has a real gift from switching gears from emotive slice of life, two friends at a coffee shop style art to throwback superhero work when Caroline is thinking about her past as Chrysalis and is confronted by the spectre of one of her old, presumed dead foes and finally pure Kirby crackle when the story gets really philosophical/trippy. My one minor critique of Liew’s work is that Caroline’s therapist and her good friend Dani look very similar, and I thought they were the same person until finally realizing they weren’t thanks to context clues/a second reading.

Visaggio and Liew convey a feeling that everyone who has ever suffered from anxiety or depression can understand of putting on a brave, happy, competent, and/or professional face when you want to cry, scream, or most of the time, just lie there motionless like when Caroline is making dark quips to her therapist about her suicide attempts. The use of humor to mask pain is definitely relatable, and using it to kick off Eternity Girl #1 immediately shows that Visaggio understands the nature of depression. She doesn’t sugarcoat things and isn’t afraid that after losing her purpose in life as a member of Alpha-13, Caroline feels like she’s just “killing time” and hoping that one of her futile (Due to her power set.) suicide attempts actually pan out. Immortal plus depression seriously sucks. However, in a literal earth and reality shattering third act, Caroline realizes that she has to pass as a functional human before she tastes death’s sweet release.

As a book, Eternity Girl #1 is nestled in a nice niche between artsy indie and superhero comic, but leaning more towards to the artsy side thanks to the fragmented nature of Magdalene Visaggio’s plot and Sonny Liew’s art plus scattershot, intergalactic colors from Chris Chuckry towards the end. However, Visaggio, Liew, and Chuckry use this niche to honestly probe and explore the feelings that come with depression and create opportunities for connection and empathy in regards to mental health through this engaging comic book. Because sometimes you don’t fear death, you long for it…

Story: Magdalene Visaggio  Art: Sonny Liew Colors: Chris Chuckry 
Story: 9.6 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review