AloneNotLonely – Luke Cooper

3 out of 5

An interesting, if somewhat predictable one-shot. Luke Cooper’s AloneNoteLonely mixes some vaguely Lovecraftian bogeys (read: tentacles) with a unique art / color style for what essentially amounts to a character study. The ‘predictable’ tag isn’t necessarily a bad thing, here, and may work in the story’s credit, as early hints as to what’s likely going on during our protagonist’s solo jaunt through a world overrun by monsters remove the focus on there being a twist, allowing the reader to moreso sit with the narration. Which is a bit poetic, at points, but doesn’t cross a line into schmaltz – Alex (said narrator) muses on living an isolated life, and what that means, while she fills us in on the way people have mutated into “demons” and “angels;” her thoughts are sometimes heavy-handed, but come across as legitimate. However, Cooper seems split on whether this is a horror / sci-fi action piece or a drama, and though a story doesn’t have to be exclusively one or the other, the way the dialogue is paced cuts in to both sides of the equation – you can’t focus solely on the events happening with Alex’s constant stream of thoughts, and her words come across as somewhat repetitive, doubling up on things that are already depicted in panel. The religious imagery here also gets a bit overbearing, but again, I think being able to suss out what this is building up to early on makes that more tolerable.

While I initially thought that the blue and red color palette might come across as a shtick, I do think it served as a highlight – the tone and pace is kept fairly steady throughout, and there’s always this unsettled undercurrent, and the consistency of the visuals and discordant color mashup really helps with that. Cooper’s figurework is also great. It looks like he’s maybe using photo reference for people, but it doesn’t have the stiffness this generally adds to comics, perhaps smoothed out by the flat, color block style.