Grief is one of the most difficult processes a human can go through. I recently lost a family member. It wasn't the first time, but it always feels like it. It is hard not having that person to talk to anymore. This is a tragedy because after they are gone is when you would like to talk to them the most.
Literature has a unique way of capturing the imagination. The books provide the art and story, but much of the adventure takes place in the mind. The pages give the story but it is being told through the speaker that is your internal monologue. This offers a way for the reader to emotionally connect with the writing. This is part of what makes reading comic books so great. This is especially true on occasions where the content of the book aligns with the way you are currently feeling. I was lucky to find one of these books this week.
Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact is a post-apocalypse science fiction graphic novel written by Matt Mair Lowery with art by Cassie Anderson revolving around the survivors of an alien invasion.The book came out on September 19th of 2017.
Cleo is young girl who finds herself in a battle against intergalactic forces. This is where she teams up with a rebellious alien who has shape-shifted into Cleo's father. Together the two wage war against the invading alien threat. They form a friendship with allows the alien to learn about humanity. It also gives Cleo an outlet to process her father's death.
One of the best parts of Lifeformed's writing is the development of Cleo's relationship with her father. With her father gone, Cleo needs to find her own way of dealing with this loss. Cleo's alien companion lacks knowledge of humanity. This gives Cleo what is essentially a clean slate of her father. She can work through her feelings with a strong and compassionate alien friend who happens to look exactly like her dad. This is a very creative and entertaining way to develop a character.
Anderson's art in Lifeformed is stellar. The use of black areas as well as muted colors adds an entire new layer to the book's shading. If the characters are in a dark area the panels have a solid black background. Scenes with low lighting often utilized muted versions of the original colors. Sometimes the panels contain both of these elements. This greatly helps immersion into the story. Danger can be around any corner. Suspense is built by only allowing the readers to see what the characters can see.
The artwork is not the only factor creating suspense in Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact. Right from the start Cleo knows that the aliens can shape-shift to look like humans. This means that anyone they encounter can possibly be an alien in disguise. The lack of the ability to trust strangers is a staple in post-apocalyptic literature. Lowery and Anderson come together to tell a humorous and thrilling tale.
I thought this book was fantastic. This book does a phenomenal job of balancing drama, action and humor. The art was colorful with aspects reminiscent of German Expressionism. It honestly never stopped being entertaining. It definitely what I needed this week.