cover image Firebug


Johnnie Christmas. Image, , $16.99 ISBN 978-1-5343-0494-9

Writer-artist Christmas (illustrator of Margaret Atwood’s Cat Bird) and colorist Tamra Bonvillain have created a twisty, addictive fantasy-adventure coming-of-age tale centered around one of nature’s most destructive and awe-inspiring features: the volcano. That eruption-prone peak is the catalyst for stellar worldbuilding and character development, as heroine Keegan—inheritor of the mantle of Volcano Goddess—struggles to find her way in a culture where everyone else (especially the controlling Cult of the Goddess) proclaims her destiny is set. Keegan must determine whether she’s “an elemental goddess or some freak with a pyrokinetic link to a dying volcano.” Along the way, Keegan’s relationships with her mother, aunt, and boyfriend are complemented by her relationship to her culture and nature—literal nature and her own nature. Keegan’s world feels rich thanks to interludes, such as a section titled “Three Short Stories of Four Special Artifacts,” that provide nerdy background that subtly advances the story. Bonvillain’s striking color palettes propel the story and animate Christmas’s thin lines, which show a well-played Moebius influence. This fast-moving saga will thrill not only readers seeking a strong female lead but anyone who likes their comics both personal and mythological in scale. (Mar.)