cover image The New World: Comics From Mauretania

The New World: Comics From Mauretania

Chris Reynolds. New York Review Comics, $34.95 (276p) ISBN 978-1-68137-238-9

Welsh cartoonist Reynolds has been issuing “Mauretania Comics” since 1985; this well-designed volume, edited by cartoonist Seth, provides a definitive collection of Reynolds’s enigmatic work. Set on a future earth where humanity has lost a war with mostly benevolent aliens, these comics string together slice-of-life narratives with the abstract tales that arise from a universe where cause and effect no longer meaningfully apply. The protagonist is the helmeted Monitor, who looks like a mod sci-fi movie hero and travels through a mundane landscape where daily life seems oddly unchanged despite the conquest of humanity. “The Dial” explains how the aliens’ religion paved the way toward their quite polite control of humans. Short detective yarns and poetic fragments lead loosely through to the introduction of Jimmy, who joins Monitor in resisting the new order and—perhaps—saving the world. The sheer denseness of Reynolds’s line, which is amply cross-hatched and looks to be drawn with fat Sharpies, pervades the comics with an encroaching sense of dread. In his foreword, Ed Park frames the “aesthetic ecstasy” of these loosely plotted comics, where more questions are raised than answered. The distinctive visual style and familiar themes of paranoia and existential unease will resonate with modern audiences and provide a collectible for those familiar with the series. (Apr.)