Jenny sent me a few trades a while back. I didn’t get to them right away because…well, I have a lot of trades unread and get to them when I get to them. And I think the DC/Young Animal book Eternity Girl was from her, but I’m not sure. I don’t think I bought it, but I sometimes buy all kinds of stuff and don’t get to them right away, so I don’t know.
Point is, I had this book and I am not 100% sure where it came from. But here’s a review all the same.
Caroline Sharp is a superhero that sometimes goes by the name Chrysalis. She works for a government agency called Alpha 13 and her archfoe Madame Atom is long dead. An accident left Caroline with complete control over her atomic structure, allowing her to change her shape at will, but her powers seem to extend beyond herself, and she may be able to play with the atomic structure of, oh, anything. Factor in as well that she can’t die, and she’s rather depressed. Her life isn’t going anywhere.
Plus, as a comic book character, she’s been rebooted multiple times over the decades. Life just got old. So, when Madame Atom seems to return from the grave with a way for Caroline to not only die but take the entire multiverse with her, the only way to ensure that she can’t come back, is she depressed enough to take that step?
Or that isn’t happening at all, and Caroline is maybe losing her mind. For most of the book, that part isn’t entirely clear.
So, was this book something of a tribute to the mostly forgotten DC hero Element Girl, who memorably had a similar set-up and famously had her most memorable issue one where she died in the pages of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman? Because the set-up is similar and I honestly don’t know if that was intentional or not. Regardless, writer Magdalene Visaggio is doing her own take on the concept and throwing in a character who isn’t entirely aware she’s fictional but is aware she’s been rebooted and there are multiple realities out there. If so, I don’t know that this story held together all that well. Caroline, as she’d prefer to be called, has a few advantages on Element Girl, but she’s no happier, and the way the story is told, as she slips between the cosmic “backstage” and her rather humdrum regular life, it really isn’t immediately clear what’s actually happening. That’s not a bad thing, but I think it could have been executed better than it was. Sonny Liew’s artwork is fine, the story is fine, but ultimately, it just felt like it was missing something. I couldn’t bring myself to care that much about Caroline’s problems since I wasn’t sure whether or not the Madame Atom character was actually there or not. A few more hints one way or the other would have been helpful.
Still, it wasn’t a terrible story, and I do like meta-storytelling in general. As such, this one was fine, but nothing to write home about, so to speak.
7.5 out of 10 taste bud discussions.