The Autumnal, Issues 1-5 Review
Okay, so I started this one sooner than I thought I would because my friend grabbed it at the comic store and reminded me that it’s supposed to be really good. And I HAD to binge it all.
Thanks to @datanerd_holly, @btmorgan85, and @InnsmouthTide on Twitter for recommending it! (and anyone else I may have forgotten to tag)
For me, this started off a bit slow- stories like this are harder for me to get into because the balance of reality vs supernatural elements is hard to gauge in the first few issues. It’s a constant battle I have with myself whether I should hold out and bet that the supernatural elements are there and they will come in strong eventually, or if I should give up, believing that it’s just not my vibe. I’m glad I decided to hold out and keep reading.
The mystery of “What is the Autumnal” takes at least 2-3 issues to really make itself relevant.
Before then, the first few issues focus on building empathy around the main character, Kat, a single mom, grew-up-rebellious-loner type. Her daughter is a bright bubble of sunshine though and seems to be one of the only things at the start of this run to keep Kat from slipping into her own abyss. I really appreciate how relatable Kat is as a character. She’s constantly aware of her actions, poor or otherwise, and she’s always trying to do better- but it doesn’t always come out the way she wants it to or needs it to. She’s a bit of a cynic and wants to stay that way, but still has this part of herself she can’t completely shut down yet, thanks to her daughter. It’s nice to see someone who wants to be a cynic but, more than that wants to find happiness for themself and the ones they love- and actually starts to admit that. It’s nice to see herself open up to others, even if it seems random and slightly out there- love comes from the most random places a good portion of the time, and as long as the person is good for you, does it matter where it comes from? I also love how empathetic Kat is to others that are struggling- she doesn’t brush off people like drug addicts like the rest of the town does; she does what she can, as basic as getting them into a doctor or whatever they are willing to do, to help them. Kat is a great example of a character who is flawed as hell, and yet is one of the kindest and most empathetic characters I’ve ever read.
I really enjoy how Kat’s daughter is written as well- she’s smart, aware of what’s happening around her to a decent extent, especially for a child (ie “Do I have trauma, mama?”). She’s a great example of a character who is smart, but still so innocent so that even when she’s oblivious to something, you can’t help but wish she were right- even if you know better. You want to believe that this little ball of light is right and that she IS happy, her mom IS happy, and that there ISN’T anything weird going on here.
But, here’s the kicker- something weird IS going on here, and it isn’t until the 5th issue that you really start to get an idea of why people fear the leaves, why everyone in the town is so perfect 95% of the time, and then the other 5% of the time they are terrified. I love seeing Kat do her own imperfect snooping and minor detective work- it’s nice to see someone “regular” like myself having to put things together instead of a professional (love you Batman, but c'mon, we can’t live up to World’s Greatest Detective no matter how much we all try). Though, as I mentioned earlier, the build-up to what the mystery even is is slow at first, hold out till issue 3, because if the build-up in issues 1 and 2 isn’t enough, issue 3 begins kicking it up, and by issue 5- you’ve got it. You’ve got the mystery, you’ve got the horror, full circle, right in front of your face. And it’s GREAT. It’s WORTH IT. It’s so great because not only is it something I couldn’t have guessed but because it’s so f*cking realistic. It’s something that, in any other circumstance, I could see happening in real life somehow. And that makes it that much more terrifying, that much sadder, that much more horribly great to read.
After ALL the great character development and mystery/horror, we still have the fantastic art. The art of this series has a great balance of looking realistic as hell while making Fall look like the scariest season of the year- and no, there’s no Halloween involved in this (so far). The shadowing and coloring really sell the art for me, but I can’t do a disservice to the line art- without those great lines, we wouldn’t have the ~swoosh~ feel of fall here, no matter how great the shadows and colors are. As you can tell, I’m clearly not the best art critic, but whew is this art perfect for the tone of this series!
Start this comic for the character development, stay for the mystery and horror additions. This sh*t is why I love indie comics. This is why creators flock to indies. Because they can do THIS!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi Gives This:
4 out of 5 Finger Guns
(because I'm bi)
You can find Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi, Lauren, on Twitter: