The Apocalypse Girl (#1 – 4) – El Torres

5 out of 5

For years, as I’ve been reading Amigo comics, I’ve been intrigued by an ad they’ve continually run (for Amigo) that used art from a title called Gargantuan.  Its imagery of a giant Lovecraftian monster wrecking a cityscape looked like tons of fun; at various points it was announced as up-and-coming and I would look it up to try to find release dates… but eventually proposed dates faded away and it seemed like the series would not, for whatever reason, find a home.  But they continued to use the image.

While Apocalypse Girl presumably isn’t Gargantuan, it brings along that same sense of fun and excitement that that single image offered… and then exceeds any and all expectations with its fantastic art and colors – Ramiro Borrallo – an amazingly dense but deftly told story by Torres, and multiple eye-opening expansions to its already big-idea setup, presented in such a way as to not undersell their complexity, but without interrupting the series’ flow…

Our girl is Metis, one of the few humans left after a dang apocalyptic event.  Yes, yes, dystopia survivors things… ah, but this is Amigo, home of witches and goblins, and so biological warfare or whatnot isn’t the cause of the destruction; demons are.  Of course.  And causing an equal amount of problems are the stuck up angels flitting around battling the demons.  Humans, at this point, are an annoyance at the edges of the fight; Metis pokes around town for supplies, marveling at the massacre and then returning to her isolated hovel with her mother.  Her mother…

…See, you get some interesting info about mum right in the first issue, so it’s not a huge spoiler, but certainly part of Apocalypse Girl’s charm is the casual and clever way in which Torres introduces these things, so why not leave that for you to discover when you buy these issues, love them, and then buy more for your friends?  As well as the surprises that follow: after Metis bumps in to some other kids, and has a compressed coming-of-age tale amidst demon slaughtering and angel squabbles.  You warm to the small cast immediately, and Torres juxtaposes our likely assumptions against how the heavenly and hellish are written, to grand effect.  The experience is positively embellished further via some truly nifty and earthy lettering by Monkey Typers, and trade-off edits by Colleen Douglas and Jennifer van Gessel, both of whom leave no trace of the translated English that’s plagued some other Amigo titles.  Artist Borrallo has a loose line, reminding me of a slightly less stylized Chris Schweizer (whom I adore), and then the weight of his panels and excellent framing making the book absolutely eye-grabbing, page by page.

As soon as I was a few pages in, I was regretting that this was only a four issue series.  When the plot started going off in crazy directions, I was hoping that this wouldn’t be the end of The Apocalypse Girl.  While its fate could succumb to publishing challenges a la Gargantuan, there’s a pleasing “volume 2” promise in the last panel…

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