The final arc of Image Comics’s Unnatural begins where the last one left off. It’s also a throwback to how the entire story began. The first arc introduced readers to Leslie Blair and her friends. As Leslie became more entangled with a wide ranging conspiracy, she began to lose those closest to her. The second arc was much more action packed. The formerly demure antagonist who relied so heavily on her friends now refuses to trust anyone. After everything she has been through, what’s in store for Leslie as Unnatural heads towards its finale?
Very early into issue #9, it becomes apparent that the final issues of Unnatural will be something of a hybrid of the first two arcs. The first issues were more character focused and the second act was more about the concept. As the series heads to its finale, it looks like there will be plenty of action and the final evolution of Leslie.
Writer and artist Mirka Andolfo has done a good job of making the story all about the development of the blue haired pig. The story has no shortage of twists and turns and there are a good number of characters, but Andolfo does a good job of never taking the focus off of Leslie. Andolfo has done this by telling a tightly crafted story that also engages the reader.
At the beginning of Unnatural, Lesliie is introduced in a manner that is almost frivolous. She immediately becomes endearing as she is really no different from the reader (Except the fact that she is a pig with blue hair). She is shown working a job that does not pay enough, complaining to her friends, and worried that she will never find the right partner. As the story progresses and Leslie becomes stronger and more independent, readers can almost chart the growth. It’s neat to look at where the character started and see where she is now.
Andolfo was able to do this and still tell an interesting story with strong commentary. Unnatural has always done a great job of being topical without throwing it in the reader’s face. Sometimes this commentary takes a back seat to more action-oriented issues, but it’s always hovering over the story. In issue #9, the dystopian nature of the book is more in your face than it has ever been. It is certainly uncomfortable, but it also goes with the progressing nature of the story. The stakes have never been higher and it only makes sense that the intolerance would reach such brutal levels.
The art is fantastic in this issue. Andolfo has been consistently great the entire run, but issue #9 highlights how great she is at drawing the more emotional moments of the story. That’s not to say the action sequences are bad, however — the previous issue proved that. This part highlights some impactful and moving memories. These are very lovingly done and absolutely draw readers in. The confrontation between the Albino and Leslie is also a standout. In a series filled with great art, Andolfo really shines here.
There is one decision that may end up hindering the book. Last issue revealed The Glance’s true identity. Before, The Glance was little more than a generic Big Bad-type character. Usually, not having a strong villain can hurt a story, but since Unnatural is more about Leslie overcoming inner struggles than a physical enemy, it did not impact the book. Issue #9 begins to delve into a backstory. Even worse, it appears The Glance may be one of those villains writers want you to empathize with. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it usually takes time to build this type of character and time is an issue.
Unnatural #9 is a great start to the end of the series. This is one of the more emotional issues and really highlights the development of Leslie. Whereas before, readers just wanted Leslie to survive, now it’s possible to cheer for her to win. The story can get melodramatic at times, but the magnificent art balances this out making for a fun issue.