Review: Electricity is Her Element
Electricity is Her Element is a self-published one-shot from cartoonist Kat Crow. A group of dragons or “snakes of chaos”, live in the storms on Jupiter and its moon Io and want to return the solar system back to pure chaos. They seek to accomplish this with the help of the elements Fire, Metal, Atmosphere, Water, and Electricity. It’s an extended meditation on the ultimate fate of the universe, the struggle between order and chaos. Even though Earth and humanity doesn’t appear in the comic, it’s a reminder of how really small we are in the universe. But with cool nature-inspired dragons, personifications of elements, and a cat angel named Ker-Bop that damn near steals the entire comic.
Taking a page from Todd Klein’s work (Especially on Sandman.), Crow uses lettering to establish characters, relationships, and tone. An example is Metal who is a warlord type figure, actively disliked by the other elements. He takes the dragons’ claws in exchange for helping them unleash chaos. Metal’s letters clank around like weapons. Its word balloons are more like a machine than the naturalism of other characters. Atmosphere’s lettering involves clumps of repeated words. It’s like one is struggling to breathe poisonous fumes. The lettering demonstrates the unpredictability of her abilities and almost the sheer luck that the dragons have in mollifying her.
Instead of just being text on a page, Crow’s lettering conveys the emotions behind the words used by the characters. The lettering complements her art style for each one. Along with being integral to the plot, Ker-Bop adds a wise-ass and puckish sense of humor to the ponderous proceedings of the first act of the comic. She’s drawn almost like a classic comic strip character. This is in comparison to the intricate rendering for the dragons and elements. The fights between Water and Dust Storm, and Atmosphere and Hail Storm are illustrated in painted splash pages. That showcases the power of these elemental clashes. They hint at how heroic these characters are even if they are from Jupiter’s moon Io, and not the Big Red Planet itself.
Another thing that makes Electricity is Her Element is the poetic way that Kat Crow structures the comic. Until Ker-Bop shows up, the dialogue between dragons and elements is almost call and response. The dragons have a need, and the elements meet or end up in a big conflict. There’s a dark feeling of yearning in the early part of the comic. The dragons are nostalgic for a time when the universe was one big storm. They’re afraid of change and Jupiter becoming a totally smooth planet. These emotions allowed me to connect to the characters beneath their pompous and divine nature and makes the story a little bit tragic.
With a scintillating, cosmic color palette, and fluid line work to match the different styles of lettering, Electricity is Her Element is a visual treat. It made me feel shock and awe when I flipped through the first couple pages before diving into the comic. Crow adds to this strong artistic foundation and distinct character designs by giving each element or dragon a unique personality. That’s while focusing on Ker-Bop, Dust Storm, and Hail Storm in this comic and fitting it into a cosmology that seems both spontaneous and planned.
Electricity is Her Element is J.RR. Tolkien’s “Ainulindale” with a sense of humor. It’s Hesiod’s Theogony without the toxic masculinity. Character sketches and bios at the end of the comic add depth to Crow’s worldbuilding. It helps make this comic worth picking up for all lovers of beauty and truth.
Story: Kat Crow Art: Kat Crow
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Kat Crow provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review