One of the greatest strengths of Paper Girls is its ability to blend surprises into its story organically. Once you’ve introduced giant bird-dinosaurs and teenaged mummies from the future, anything is game. Paper Girls #7 written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang, pushes forward with the girls trapped in the future world of 2016.
We immediately meet yet another version of Erin, and while she looks young (possibly older than ‘88 Erin?), she seems to have much more information than either of her counterparts. She’s a welcome addition to the story, since no one else has an understanding of what’s going on. We don’t know much about her but the prospect of her meeting the other Erins is exciting. Unfortunately, giant water bears have also come to wreak havoc and things get ugly fast.
The girls find a clue that leads them towards an abandoned mall, but Mac and Tiffany break off to investigate things on their own. They encounter new cars and new technology and these segments feel like the only weak spot in the issue. It makes sense that you’d be surprised by your surroundings if you were suddenly propelled into the future, but as readers actually living in 2016, it’s not quite thrilling. We already know about Hillary Clinton and smart phones and the ogling is cute the first time around, but feels otherwise unnecessary.
Chiang’s illustrations continue to impress with his retro art style and soft colors. The facial expressions on each of the characters are vivid. It’s easy to believe in their annoyance, their confusion, and their shock. And there’s quite a bit of shock to go around in Paper Girls #7.
As the Erins head towards the mall to follow their clue, they share a moment of understanding and support, and this is where Vaughan’s writing really shines. It’s easy to relate to the disappointment of life. Meeting a younger version of yourself and realizing that you’re no where near your goals can be crushing, but the writing is fluid and poignant. Things aren’t so bad for the Erins, which of course means that shit’s about to go down.
Paper Girls #7 leaves us with some surprises and even more questions than we started with. As current characters are separated and new characters are introduced, the stakes continue to rise. The best stories leave you wanting more and Paper Girls does just that.
- Another Erin!
- Great artwork by Chiang
- More exciting questions that build upon story
- Characters being surprised by 2016 technology feels unnecessary