cover image Demo: Sad and Beautiful World

Demo: Sad and Beautiful World

Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan, DC/Vertigo, $17.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-4012-2995-5

Cloonan and Wood return to their anthology series, telling more tales of young mutants who are clearly not superheroes. Instead, their abilities are metaphors, dead weight anchors and the basis for life-changing transitions. These six stories aren’t about powerful people but very troubled ones, including a cannibal; a compulsive but charming young woman who lives via instructions on Post-its; a boy who can breathe underwater; and a time traveler who tries to reassure her younger self. Wood writes to explain the characters’ outwardly confusing decisions, as they often disappoint themselves but come to terms with living on. Cloonan’s art is outstanding, able to evoke worlds instantly and in depth, with structure that supports and underpins the needs of each story, gorgeously stark black and white that isn’t afraid of detail. The chapters swing in mood, repulsion alternating with hope (sometimes in the same story). This is the perfect transition book for readers who know superheroes but are looking for a comic more relevant to their lives. (Mar.)