Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Comic Book Tuesday: Paradox Girl Volume 1 by Cayti Bourquin, Yishan Li

Author: Cayti Bourquin, Yishan Li
Series: Paradox Girl
Audience: +16
Genre: Graphic Novel,
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: June 4th 2019
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: Image Comics
Blurb (from Goodreads):
As a hero with the power to go anywhere and anywhen, Paradox Girl has made an absolute mess of her own life. She's changed history so often that isn't even sure who she is anymore. Join her in this superhero comedy as she tries to make sense of her chaotic existence, chases bizzare whims, and maybe even finds time to save the day once in a while.
Collecting the first cycle of six issues of Paradox Girl, in which new writer Cayti Bourquin playfully explores questions of time, meaning and identity. A book which rewards multiple readings as PG jumps from panel to panel, weaving a complex tangle of timelines.

Collects PARADOX GIRL #1-6

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Image Comics in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

It's been a while since I read a comic book I wanted to talk to everyone about, really. Not because I haven't read any comic books until now, but because I just didn't feel like I had something to say. Well people, Paradox Girl gave me plenty to say and I am happy about that.

I picked up this book because I was curious. The cover had me do a double take, because I wasn't sure if I was seeing things or if that truly was the same character in different outfits. After reading just a few pages, I was hooked.

Let's start with the story, shall we? This is probably the first time I've ever read about the same character being both the villain and the hero, but I loved that. I loved the fact that I didn't know what was happening or who I should trust. What would happen if someone went back in time to change things? Would they be the same person? How much of their own personal story would be altered? Would they still be the one of the good guys? That is what Paradox Girl has to deal with every time she changes something about the timeline.

The story focuses on the abuse of power in such an interesting way. I almost didn't catch that thread in the stories, but then one of the issues was about an old man and his broken watch and then it all clicked. Is it abuse of power if a superhero tries to do good? Is overusing one's superpower bad even if it's justified by the desire to do good? Paradox Girl has to face the consequences of her time travelling antics each and every day, from having 3 other Paradox Girls as roommates, to having to fight a villainous version of herself. The thing I liked most about this is that the typical rules of time travel in SciFi aren't there. You don't see Paradox Girl go insane or erase herself from the timeline when she sees herself, because she's created so many versions of herself, that even if two were erased hundreds more would still exist.

The dangers of time travel are usually mentioned when it comes to either the creation of parallel timelines or the insanity that one may develop as a result. This was the first time I've ever seen erasing one's name and personal history being mentioned as a possibility, as well as the creation of multiple identities. I loved this idea that each time Paradox Girl went back in time she created yet another version of herself, just as I loved the idea of her alterations not being always on the good side of things. In one of the issues Paradox Girl is trying to stop a bomb from exploding on a train, and she realizes that train is full only of alternate versions of herself: she's the train conductor, the bombshell, the villain, the male-like spy trying to discover and diffuse the bomb, the server, the other passengers, the bartender. She is each and every one of these characters and it's difficult to know which one of these versions is the original ones. According to the bombshell, each of these versions where created in Paradox Girl's attempts to diffuse the bomb many, many times. In fact, one of her versions mentioned how the villain version of herself has "been each and every character on this train". I loved that so much. Usually when people play the "what if" games, we always envision a better future for ourselves, but what if altering one piece of the story would turn future-us into villains? And what if we could see that happen?

The art was pretty good, and it followed the story pretty well. The colors were very bright and they usually matched the personality of whichever Paradox Girl the story was focused on. I liked that the panels weren't crowded with text. There were a lot of details to follow in the drawings that too much text would have taken away from them in my opinion. I would have wanted to see Paradox Girl have even different physical alterations, than just her haircut and wardrobe choices, but maybe in the future we will see that.

All in all, I really was surprised by this book. I went in expecting a typical superhero story and instead I got a story much more complex than that. I laughed, I cringed, and I suffered from second hand embarrassment at times, but I truly enjoyed reading this book. I'm hoping there's going to be a second volume, because I cannot wait to see what adventures Paradox Girl and her different versions are going on next.

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