Writer: Brian K. Vaughan / Artist: Cliff Chiang / Image Comics

Paper Girls grows more complex as we learn more about time travel this issue than most of the expository issues in the past. The clues have been sparse over thirteen issues now, a hint here and a major detail there, and Paper Girls #13 holds one of the latter as Erin’s actions give us an “a-ha” moment to help readers put together this crazy puzzle. The time travel rules will inevitably point back to fatalism and predetermination – and the extent to which freedom of choice exists – but we don’t focus on Mac’s future leukemia or anything like that here. Instead, as is the case with most early issues of BKV’s arcs, this one builds more mystery than resolutions, adds more questions than offers answers.

Paper Girls #13 Panel 1

What that means for Paper Girls #13 is added allusions to the past and, even more interesting, visions into the future. Being shown flashes of what’s in store is a surefire way to keep readers invested in this series despite knowing only a fraction of what’s going on in the bigger picture. The beauty of this book is that it allows you to forget how much you don’t know as you focus on what’s just in front of you – the current conflict to overcome, the next checkpoint in the race to survival – just as the girls are forced to do. Visibility in this series is never more than 50 feet but always enough to keep you moving forward, all the while learning more about our characters, like Tiffany’s adoption, Mac’s education versus KJ’s maturity, and Erin’s picture of her own future.

Paper Girls #13 Panel 2

Overall, another issue you would find yourself woefully inept to summarize yet incredibly satisfied to read. You can’t explain Paper Girls, not and do it any justice, at least. You have to read it to believe it, and you’ll be glad you did. Look forward to more pieces of the puzzle in the coming issues, especially the ones that will guide our way to those flash-forward scenes that are bound to happen. Paper Girls is the hardest puzzle that’s the most fun to solve.

9.1 out of 10

Reading Paper Girls? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer and pop culture savant in New York City. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Twitter @jordanmcalhoun

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