Writer: Brian K. Vaughan / Artist: Cliff Chiang / Image Comics
By now you know at least two things: this book is crazy good despite being confusing, and also if things start to get positive for the girls and someone can speed this plot along then the person with the answers is gonna get killed. This is a slow burn, baby, can’t have anyone showing up being too helpful or knowing too much information. Same goes for here when it comes to spoilers, but what I can tell you is that the year 2000 is coming to an end as Paper Girls wraps up this arc and gets us moving to another time and place. And it’s maybe further from the girls’ present than we’ve seen so far.
We gain a few nuggets of wisdom to add to the other bits we’ve compiled here and there — phrases like “that terrorist attack underneath the World Trade Center” and how easy it is to fly the giant time-traveling mech robots we’ve seen warring throughout the city. The girls have a tag along now though, grown-up Tiffany, who is the softer version of the confident one we know, the product of adulthood and years of your dreams diminishing until you find yourself in a life that the teenage version of you would hardly recognize. Grown-up Tiffany realizes that, and the revelation makes you feel for her even more, all the while rooting for the badass who needs to persist through time.
Artistically, this issue flexes a few muscles as you look in the backgrounds of the future-people to find clues and better understand what the girls might be facing. From inside their offices to inside their ships, you notice some crazy things that push your thinking a bit further and leaving you guessing for answers of their meaning and implications. And, of course, Vaughan is a master of the page-turn-leading-to-someone’s-death, so while it isn’t always a surprise anymore, it’s skillful nonetheless. Overall, this issue isn’t a game changer, but propels us to the next arc and helps set the emotional stage a little bit in several different areas. And that’s what it was meant to do.
Reading Paper Girls? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.