cover image Maw


Jude Ellison S. Doyle and A.L. Kaplan. Boom! Studios, $19.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-68415-840-9

Pop scholar of female monstrosity Doyle (Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers) makes his comics debut with Kaplan in this grisly sci-fi tale of trauma set in a separatist group of women looking to escape oppression. After a grueling court battle against her rapists, Marion Weber begrudgingly joins her sister Wendy in a woman’s “retreat” that promises “power” to those who have suffered male violence. “There are no bosses in this place... only women... each a goddess in her own right.” Unconvinced in the commune, however, Marion leaves to find a bar where a male patron spikes her drink. She later wakes up alone with “flashes” of memories, sensing “something in [her]. Slow and heavy and liquid.” The attack causes Marion to undergo a frightening physical change; one that comes with the power to enact whatever justice she sees fit. The vengeful vibe is promising at first, but characters lack depth and the mysteries lead to a lackluster conclusion for the big ideas that get built up. Still, Kaplan’s baroque, lithesome drawings wonderfully contrast the serenity of the retreat with the grit of Marion’s reality, and Fabiana Mascolo’s expert use of color accentuates the tumultuous mood. Fans of dark feminist science fiction will soak up the atmosphere, but wish for a bit more narrative pay-off. (Aug.)