Writer: Brian K. Vaughan / Artist: Cliff Chiang / Image Comics
The worst part of Paper Girls is that it ends entirely too fast. The series continues after KJ touches a new discovery she stumbled across in the woods with Mac, and touching it gave her a different type of time travel and she visualizes flashes of her future. Part of that future included her kissing Mac, and various other scenes we may see later in the book as we learn just how fatalistic this story chooses to be. Can the girls affect their futures or is it predetermined? Or maybe something in between? If KJ and Mac kiss, does it also mean Mac sure to get leukemia and die? As usual, there are more questions than answers, but that’s more than okay given how much you care about these characters. Paper Girls’ biggest strength is simultaneously weaving character- and plot-driven fiction together into one. Bad ass dialogue also helps.
The newly reunited girls finally meet the rest of the characters who have been introduced around them, including Wari, the native girl with the child; Qanta, the new time traveler from the future; and the three evil Geico cavemen who are the immediate threat to them all. Now that introduction have all been made one way or another, the story begins dolling out a few more answers: when Qanta was born (2016), what the cavemen want (the baby), and more. Yet even with all that you still just want to know if the time machine is right, if KJ kisses Mac, and what Apple products have to do with it all; and KJ doesn’t blame you because that’s all she’s thinking about herself even as she runs for her life from the three cavemen.
It’s notable (and bad ass) here, as KJ volunteers herself as a distraction, that none of the girls are too worried about her. While Mac expresses concern – I mean, KJ might be her future bae, after all – Tiffany brushes it off. “She’ll lose them,” she says. “She’s faster than any of us.” I guess after KJ lived their arc-long separation unscathed the girls have a lot of confidence in their strength and survival, and that confidence is great to read as the girls work through tough decisions.
Overall, Paper Girls #14 continues one of the best arc so far in a great series. Cliff Chiang’s artwork does not get enough praise in these reviews, the panel progressions are flawless, and it’s a perfect complement to the natural, near perfect dialogue that combines to make this series the most fun reads you’ll ever have. Buy this book, read its story, and love its characters.
Reading Paper Girls? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.