January 31, 2013

Review -- FLUTTER

This Review Originally Ran on Comics Bulletin
(Jennie Wood, Jeff McComsey; 215 Ink)
Sometimes the best way to woo the girl of your dreams is to become a boy. Especially if you are a girl to begin with. Or maybe you're not a girl. Maybe you're not even human. Still, though, if you're wild about a girl named Saffron, and she just mad about boys, it may be best to approach the relationship from the male perspective. Or maybe not. Sometimes these things get so confusing, right?
There seems to be all sorts of intriguing things going in the 24-page first issue of Flutter from 215 Ink. Writer Jennie Wood seems to be playing in a huge sandbox filled with grains of gender roles, super powers, government cover-ups, teenage angst, family dysfunction, homophobia, gay marriage, race relations and love. While it sounds like there is a lot of sand in this box, Wood has the moxie to pull it all together, each grain falling into place as if through a carefully constructed hourglass (wait... am I mixing metaphors again?). 

215 Ink says this about Flutter:
Fifteen year-old Lily has spent her entire life on the run with her father, who is wanted by the FBI for stealing classified research. When they relocate once again, this time to a small town in upstate New York, Lily reaches her breaking point. She wants to know why she never gets sick like others or bruised when she crashes her bike. Depressed, she spends the summer playing with knives and diving off bridges. Recklessly riding her bike around town, she almost runs over Saffron. Instantly smitten with Saffron, Lily puts her death wish on hold and pretends to be someone she's not.  While dealing with the consequences of her decision, Lily finds out that she’s the stolen research the FBI is after.  
This pretty much sums up the first issue. Like I said, there is a lot going on here and it's wearing boots capable of a great deal of walking. In Flutter, Wood is playing with some real hot-button issues, but she seems to have the sense of when it is best to press them and when it is best to leave them be. The only issue I have with this book is Jeff McComsey's art. Not that it's not good, because it IS good, full of interesting angles, panel layouts, dynamism and a profusion of the color purple. My problem with his art is that many of his characters look awfully similar and it was a little confusing trying to figure out who was who in this initial issue. It was an unnecessary distraction in an otherwise really good read.
Still, I found the profusion of themes ripe for exploration in this comic more than compensate for any confusion I initially had. I think that as the story progresses, Flutter is going to be one of those books that we end up talking about a few years down the road for its bravery. Supposedly there's a 110-page graphic novel on the way which will probably build castles out of all the grains of sand Wood is working with. I, for one, look forward to watching her construct them.
You can read the first issue of Flutter for free at 215 Ink.

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