Writer: Joshua Luna, Jonathan Luna (plot)
Artists: Jonathan Luna, Joshua Luna (layouts)
Publisher: Image Comics
As anyone who's been following Girls will know, the Luna brothers have been gearing up for a big finale to this series for some time now. With issue #24 slated to be the last issue of the series, you could be forgiven for expecting a stronger sense that loose ends were being tied up by this penultimate instalment. Yes, the final few pages do have a certain climactic tension, as the remaining inhabitants of Pennystown face up to a battle with a marauding group of the titular naked females and a gigantic glowing sperm (yes, really). However, the rest of the book seems to be more of the same in-fighting and bickering between different groups of villagers that we've seen several times in the series so far, and I get the sense that not a lot has really changed in terms of the greater story and plot over the course of the entire series.
I should admit that I haven't been following the book that closely, having only read a few issues over the last year or so, and as such a lot of the soap-opera subplots are lost on me (since there's no effort made by the book to give uninformed readers any hints as to what has occurred between the various characters in past issues). However, there are also flaws in the storytelling which rob the book of some of its impact on a moment-to-moment basis too. The cel-shaded look of the Luna brothers' artwork is elegantly simplistic, but occasionally has problems when called upon to illustrate important story points without text; a case in point is the manner in which the villagers spring their trap in the closing pages of the issue, as the panel which showed a flaming torch setting a trail of gasoline alight was so unclear that I had to go back and reread the page in order to understand where the flames had suddenly come from. Little details like these can hamper readers' enjoyment of a book, and although it's been fun to see their charming art style illustrate such a violent and horrific story, the Luna Brothers obviously still have some storytelling obstacles to overcome.
I get the feeling that Girls might be more rewarding for regular readers who have followed the book since its inception, and I understand that it might seem churlish for me to complain that the penultimate issue of a book which has been running for two years isn't doing enough to be new-reader-friendly. However, the confusion that would greet readers picking up the book for the first time could be avoided with something as simple as a recap page at the start of the issue. I'm sure that the promised payoff next issue for the various mysteries which have run throughout the book (the invisible wall which has sealed off the town from the outside world; the nature of the Girls; and yes, the giant sperm) will be well-received by loyal fans of the title, and I can imagine horror/sci-fi fans getting a lot out of the weird and wonderful world that the Luna bros. have created, but more casual readers might struggle to understand the appeal of the book.
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