What would you do if Earth was being invaded by aliens intent on plundering the planet and enslaving humanity? I’d probably be huddled in front of the TV with a blanket over my head hoping it turns out to be just a silly misunderstanding. Fortunately, not everyone is as massive a coward as I am, so there’s a chance we, as a species, might actually put up a bit of a fight.
Such is the case in Ethan Young’s vision in The Battles of Bridget Lee: Invasion of Farfall of a post-invasion Earth, with the remnants of humanity holding out in military outposts, struggling to survive with limited resources and the constant threat of attack from the Marauders, an alien race so generically B-movie monstrous that they are even nicknamed “bug-eyes”.
Bridget Lee, our titular hero, has grown up knowing nothing but this war. She served as a medic, but war being war, she was also compelled to pick up a plasma rifle and fight on more than one occasion. When we first meet her, she has retreated from the front line to an outpost named Farfall, after losing her husband at the Battle of Silverbane, a particularly devastating conflict that cost humanity dearly. Farfall is a small outpost manned by a skeleton crew. Bridget tends to the orphaned children and elderly people that call it their home. Seven years on, she’s still plagued by the traumatic events of the Battle of Silverbane, reliving the moment of her husband’s death in her dreams every night.
Despite this somber backdrop, Ethan Young crafts an action-packed, hopeful tale of bravery, determination and ingenuity against the odds, as Farfall attempts to hold off an unexpected attack. However, it is not the story that really stands out here, but Young’s artwork. The care and attention to detail is apparent in every panel, everything from expressive characters and detailed scenery to the gorgeous use of colour throughout.
After an exposition-heavy start, the story zips along at such a pace that it had me longing for a little break here and there to get to know the characters better. We get just enough moments with them to gain a basic sense of what they’re about, but never really anything more than that. It would have been nice to have a better idea of day to day life in Farfall and the people who live and work there, or a sense of how human culture has shifted and evolved in the wake of the invasion. Even Bridget is defined more by her past than her personality, making her easy to admire but harder to love.
Young is aiming for a younger audience with this book, but even so I think a few twists and turns, a few subversions of the standard war story and sci-fi tropes that form the backbone of this story, could have elevated The Battles of Bridget Lee to something truly special. As it stands, Young’s writing just doesn’t quite live up to the extremely high standard of his artwork, making for a frustrating read that is beautiful to look at and is packed with potential but ultimately comes off feeling somewhat hollow.
- Interesting setting
- Fantastic artwork
- Inspirational protagonist, especially for younger readers
- Lack of character development
- Fairly predictable plot
- Clichéd villains