Writer: Brian K. Vaughan / Artist: Cliff Chiang / Image Comics
We left Paper Girls in beautifully messy confusion, which has been the theme of a series that is equally mysterious and fun with this band of girlfriends lost in time. Our latest arc found Mac, Erin, and Tiffany finally reunited with long-lost KJ, completing their roster… for a limited time, at least. Issue #11 saw some character development from KJ after being lost through the last arc, and ended with a heroic moment of her diving into a river after Mac who has been lost herself, emotionally, since learning of her future fate as we saw the series dive deeper into fatalism versus determinism.
The four girls, now separated yet again, allow new character dynamics to form as we see the fractured team interact based on who they’re with – KJ now with Mac, and Erin and Tiffany with our newest addition, a young mother with whom they’re newly able to communicate. It must be one of Vaughn’s favorite plot devices, the separation of a familial unit, their reunion, then their repeated separation, the same but different. It often comes with a heart-wrenching death, but so far we’ve been spared from one of those, fortunately. Instead, we see the new arc being set up through discovery of where they are, and more interestingly, their friendship dynamics.
Overall, Paper Girls #12 is a foundational issue for a new arc that doesn’t throw us anything particularly new – in fact, it revisits much that we’ve seen before, from the translation device to the team’s recurring separation – but is a fast read with great sequential art that really lands the funny, awkward scenes, as well as Vaughn’s characteristic natural, fantastic dialogue and the addition of new characters that promise to move us forward soon. This arc isn’t set up to be as good as the previous, at least not yet, but even at its slowest Paper Girls is a hell of a good time.
Reading Paper Girls? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.