Zeb Larson reviews Paper Girls #2…
The hottest new ongoing series of the year continues, as the Paper Girls witness the impossible.
Saying” the plot thickens” in Paper Girls #2 would be a polite way of saying that the story has gotten even crazier in this issue. I’m confident saying that I have no idea what’s happening anymore, which puts me right on the same page (ha) as the four girls of this story. Because we and the main characters are effectively adrift in this issue, it feels a bit slower than the previous one, especially as much of it is them searching for any adults and trying to figure out what exactly is going on. Still, the central mystery is so multifaceted and resistant to easy interpretation that I’m really about this series.
One of the hooded and cloaked figures is ambushed, spilling a bag full of things and allowing an unknown being to grab the missing walkie-talkie. Back at Erin’s house, her parents and sister are missing, and the girls conclude the other adults might have been evacuated. They make for Mac’s house, where they want to get her dad’s gun, and after a few frightening run-ins with a boy in a wolfman mask and some flying monsters, they get there. Weirdly, Mac’s stepmother Alice is still alive, and after drinking heavily she believes the Rapture has begun. Though Mac tries to stop her, the comic ends with a cutaway and a loud “Bang!”
There are some moments of quiet hilarity in the issue. Alice thinking that the Rapture had been brought about by Michael Dukakis is pretty funny, especially given that November 1, 1988, he was just days away from an ugly defeat against George H. W. Bush. That doesn’t really balance out the quiet horror of the issue, as everything that these girls have known is violently ripped away. The only adult left behind is an out-of-control drunk who is falling to pieces, and the events defy any easy explanation. Could the men be mutants? Time travelers? What about the flying monsters, and the being who grabbed the walkie-talkie? There aren’t many clues to go off of at this time.
Overall, the issue is still a compelling one. Because we know so little and could safely assume that things would start to go to hell, issue #2 doesn’t pack as many surprises as the first issue did. The easy solutions like trying to find an adult or call 911 all fail, predictably. We can probably rule out the Rapture; as Erin says in a roundabout way, nothing in the Bible mentions mutants wielding Apple products for the End of Days. Still, we’re not left with much, and we’re going to have to wait for the next issue to get a few more clues.