Written by, Jeff Lemire
Art by, Emi Lenox
Colors by, Dave Stewart
Letters by, Todd Klein
This issue begins with Louise and her inner monologue informing the reader that she is a monster, like her father, and her grandfather – who lives in a sewer under Spiral City. She hears her grandfather calling to her at night, in her dream, as an alien being. Louise is part human and a part monster with a face that resembles an octopus. She is an outcast, teased mercilessly by her peers, and plagued by an over-the-hill alcoholic father and embittered mother. The pressures of her life drive her to find answers from her grandfather under Spiral City.
The story was well paced, providing just enough backstory to connect the reader to the familial monster-ties, while not getting bogged down in details. The themes touched on through Louise are relatable and relevant to any teenage girl growing up in society today: body image, acceptance, and identity. These themes are leveraged in the context of a half-alien girl trying to survive the high school experience. She is teased and physically beaten for being different. Still, Louise searches for the thing that makes her important, for identity. It’s this search that leads her to the underbelly of Spiral City – to her grandfather, the monster. There’s a poignant lesson to be learned: going toward the things we fear most is a better solution than fighting them or denying that these fears exist.
I highly recommend this book to fans of Jeff Lemire and his Black Hammer universe, which he is building through Dark Horse comics. Lemire won an Eisner for his work on this series previously – it shows. Lemire is efficient and effective in his portrayal of family and the layers that are present in the lives of people who are marginalized and struggling. I highly recommend this book as a wonderful addition to the Black Hammer universe. 9.5/10