Womanthology: Space #5 successfully concludes another collection of tales, pinups, and how-tos, showcasing the works of women in comics; and with five space-themed stories ready for orbit, this final issue displays an ample array of writing and art styles, all uniquely representative of the creative team behind it. Admittedly, some contributions greatly outshine others in terms of quality, but such is the case for most anthologies.
WRITTEN BY: Barbara Randall Kesel, Allison Pang, Laura Morley, Cecil Castellucci, Kiala Kazebee
ART BY: Diana Nock, Chrissie Zullo, Sara Richard, Kel McDonald, Isabelle Melancon
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
RELEASE: February 20th
Offering an assortment of distinctively created pieces centering around an overall theme of comets, this 22-page issue showcases each authors’ natural ability when it comes to hyper-compressed storytelling. Not an easy narrative form to adhere to, but if the restricted format poses any type of disadvantage to these writers, it’s not something blatantly discernible to the casual reader.
The first short comic is Barbara Randall Kesel’s “Eccentric Orbit,” a story about the trials of adolescence in an early bloomer, whose growth spurt sparks some troubling elementary school woes. Fortunately, a space-themed school play just might be the ticket to peace of mind and self-acceptance. Diana Nock’s artistic contribution harmonizes well with the script and lends itself to enticing the younger generation of which this story surely targets, as themes of bullying are brought into play.
By an extremely large mile, “The Wind in Her Hair,” written by Allison Pang and drawn by Chrissie Zullo, is my favourite of the five published works, in both script and art; and it’s by far the most creative reimagining of “The Little Mermaid” I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Pang and Zullo combine forces to create a fantastic off-sepia toned, steampunk world, featuring gender-swapped robots, and a disillusioned pop princess who yearns for something more from life. But while it’s one of the longer stories of the bunch, I couldn’t help wanting more; which is a testament to the talent both writer and artist possess.
The third story is a facetious tale by Laura Morley and Sara Richard, called “In the Drink”. Dialogically potent, this piece excels in script, rather than relying on visual aesthetic. Morley writes about two bumbling thieves who are up to no good, in the year of a comet; and Richard adds to the jocular tone of the story with her unique style and light colouring.
Cecil Castellucci and Kel McDonald’s comic is titled, “I Will Return”, and it ascribes human form to comets, planets, and the sun, as a means to effectively tell an unanticipated, forbidden love story. In terms of artwork, McDonald successfully portrays the cold frigidity of outer space using dark tones, and displays the blazing heat of the sun through bursts of orange.
“Broken Glass,” is the final story by Kiala Kazebee and Isabelle Melançon, about a school assembly on abstinence, featuring Big Brother blasphemy policing robots, and a fast-approaching comet ready to make contact with the earth. Though confusing, the two pages of charming teen-speak vernacular and bizarrely unexplained world-building, is strangely amusing.
“Womanthology: Space” #5 is the final issue of another successful large-scale anthological endeavor showcasing the works of women in comics.
Reviewed by – ShadowJayd