Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Bottled by Chris Gooch Review

Twentysomething Jane wants to move out of her increasingly-toxic parents’ house but doesn’t have the cash for a deposit. Then her bestie from high school turned rich’n’famous H&M model, Natalie, comes back to town and, following some shocking revelations, Jane begins plotting a dark and bitter plan to get what she needs…

I’ve never read anything by writer/artist Chris Gooch before but I definitely will again after finishing his impressive comic, Bottled! What starts out as a seemingly mediocre angsty millennial soap-opera takes a sharp left turn into much more dramatic and exciting territory after Jane and Natalie’s friendship completely disintegrates. 

It’s a compelling story about what happens to high school friendships as time moves on and people drift apart as their lives take them in different directions. How do they continue after the relationship dynamics change dramatically when one person prospers and another festers and what does that do to their psyches? 

The writing was very strong. Gooch shows a keen and proficient understanding of the language of comics and the storytelling was really on point. I loved the sudden switch in tone and pacing halfway through and I couldn’t have predicted how it was going to play out – I was hooked to the very end. 

My only critique is regards the art which wasn’t that special. Some of the character designs were quite weak and indistinct. They seemed to shift depending on the angle, making it hard to tell who was who in a scene – I’d rely on the colour of their clothes more often than not! It’s not a visually striking comic. 

Still, I really enjoyed Chris Gooch’s debut book. It’s a slow-burner and takes a while to get really good but it’s definitely worth sticking with. Bottled is an original and gripping comic by a talented new creator.

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