My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A quick but moving graphic novel about an action girl & her trusty cat. Aria27 is a tough adventurer armed to the teeth & wandering an apocalyptic landscape singing snippets of opera. With her stray cat Jelly Beans, she searches for an elusive signal of a energy source, one she’s been required to find and bring home. Apart from her quest, the land around her is beautifully treacherous as three warlike tribes struggle to survive.
I enjoyed MacLean’s sketchy, impressionistic art; it’d be great to see other works illustrated by him. His use of color is bright & well-contrasted, capturing the earth reclaiming the ruined city & the violent battle scenes with equal strength. The story itself is brief & action-packed but does feel a little thin by the end. Readers will want to know more about Aria’s background as well as how she came to be an operative & who she works for.
The idea that opera, one of the oldest forms of music, would endure into this sci-fi future speaks to something very human at the center of this story–that creative visions endure, that hope & art are always possible, that some seed of the past still has resonances many years later. I think details like this are why the story reminds me of Janny Wurts’ novels. There’s not just the sense of a greater world outside of a fallen cruel one, but a realization that some human experiences remain evocative & powerful despite the progress of a society. A great read for those who want a snappy but powerful sci-fi story.