Saturday, 24 October 2015

Paper Girls #1 Review (Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chiang)

It’s the day after Halloween in 1988 and Erin sets out on her very early morning paper run in the sleepy little town of Stony Stream, Ohio. But there are a trio of shadowy figures in black robes and a sack prowling the neighbourhood - are they trick or treaters who’ve stayed out far too late or… something else?

Paper Girls is Brian K Vaughan’s second new series this year which describes itself as Stand By Me crossed with War of the Worlds. Based on this double-sized first issue? Naaaahhh. On both counts. At least so far. 

Despite being twice the normal length of a comic, very, very little happens. Vaughan introduces our group of Paper Girls, Erin (the protagonist), Mac (the Han Solo of the group) and the two forgettable ones, KJ and Tiffany. They convincingly talk like teens which is expected from the writer of Marvel’s Runaways. But they don’t talk about much. It’s just waffle. 

A sort of plot emerges once the three shadowy figures appear but it’s not that exciting. Maybe I’ve seen too many 80s movies? It feels very much of its time which I suppose is another laudable aspect of Vaughan’s writing. 

I’m sure many of you read Brian Azzarello’s New 52 Wonder Woman so you know Cliff Chiang can draw. The suburban setting of Paper Girls requires much less razmatazz on his part but it’s still a great looking issue. 

Vaughan knows how to structure a comic so the final page is a big WTF that’ll hook readers into picking up issue 2 (and that includes me) but given how epic and dramatic his other new series this year, We Stand on Guard, was, Paper Girls feels very underwhelming. I don’t need massive scale stories in every comic but compared to his last two comics, We Stand on Guard and The Private Eye, Paper Girls isn’t fizzing with fresh ideas and great scenes and comes off as a little stale. 

It’s Brian K Vaughan so Paper Girls #1 is still a decent read - the dialogue is snappy and the main characters are likeable even if a lot of the issue feels flimsy and in need of a driving plot. An ok start then but a very ordinary comic which is disappointing given the talent involved.

Paper Girls #1

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