Brian K Vaughan, Cliff Chang, Matthew Wilson, Jared K Fletcher
Brian K Vaughan has been accused of being “Too Clever” a lot these days by my peers. I’m not entirely sure if I get that claim, as I am the type of dude who laughed and clapped when I reached the final page of this issue of Paper Girls #3.
Paper Girls #3’s starts off on several “OH #$#%” moments and ends on one. The book throws a ton of high stress moments at you, expecting the reader to toughen up and take it all in, not unlike the Walking Dead. It’s torture via weirdness, as one of the girl’s lives hangs in balance as some insanity befalls her friends. And it climaxes in a twist no one will see coming, changing the entire dynamic of the book and how you view certain characters. It’s no different than Saga in a way, which makes sense given BKV’s involvement, but also reminds me of the writer’s excellent run on Runaways with Marvel.
Colorist Matthew Wilson is a beast on this issue. As if he wasn’t satisfied experimenting with colors on his Gillen/McKelvie books, Wilson goes all out on this issue of Paper Girls. He drenches the books with purples, red and blues, giving a night sense of night as well as dim lightning when need be. It does a fantastic job of setting the scene, and it clashes nicely when he uses brighter colors like white, silver and yellow. Paper Girls attempts to stand out amongst the crowd visually do not go unnoticed, and it’s great to watch them attempt to shake things up.
As for co-creator and artist Cliff Chang, it’s business as usual, which means fine looking comics! No surprise there, as Chang’s simplistic but detailed in all the right places style has resulted in some gorgeous visuals plenty of times. So let’s get into some spoiler talk yes? What I really loved about the end of this issue was the reveal that the black-outfitted weirdos are some sort of time traveling #TEENS. Again, no one saw that coming, and it seem safe to assume that there’s some sort of conflict between said teens and #ADULTS rocking some Jack Kirby-inspired armor. Anything that allows Cliff Chiang to channel Kirby again is welcomed (See his Orion during his Wonder Woman run), especially when it involves future narcs riding dinosaur. This weirdness actually meshes quite well with the suburban drama that Chiang channeled, and it’s insanity makes for an incredible fresh experience.
The big reveal regarding the visitor’s identities has changed my outlook on this title. It’s gone to self-aware Spielberg comic to Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chang channeling the Forever People. Of course I may be reading into things a bit, but this book managed to once again pleasantly surprise me in a way I found delightful. Paper Girls special brand of crazy is certainly welcomed in an age where comics and being spoiled before they’re even released, and it’s being as unpredictable as it is really works in its favor.