Mirka Andolfo’s Unnatural from Image Comics has been an amazing ride. A powerful journey of self discovery has seen main character Leslie lose all that is close to her while also becoming a stronger woman. The series has touched on themes of homosexuality, friendship, love, and government. (Forgive the reader for sometimes forgetting the story is about anthropomorphic animals.) After eleven issues and almost one year, the series is about to conclude. Will it go out on a strong note or will the story run out of steam at the end?
This may be the most erratic issue of Unnatural yet. Andolfo has done a good job of creating engaging characters. Readers will want to root for the good guys and the villains are extremely evil. In an age where many comic books strive to be realistic and relatable, Unnatural does an excellent job of being topical while still feeling like a fantastic story.
Still, the story is prone to the melodramatic. This is not very surprising. The main concerns in Leslie’s life during the first arc were finding love and her strong friendships. Naturally, this led to many moments that included soap opera-like dialogue. It never hindered the story since it was always in line with the plot and the characters. That did not mean that certain parts walked a very thin line between cute and sappy.
Unnatural #11 is different. The overly dramatic parts play an important part in the story. Before they were more like cringey additions to the main point. Here, they take center stage. Perhaps the most offensive moment is the revelation of what was the cause of Carol’s scarred face. There were a few directions the explanation could have gone, and it went in an unexpected one. That does not prevent it from being any less silly.
What makes the issue especially odd, is the writing has some of the most subtle and powerful moments of the entire season. The motivation behind The Glance’s actions are typical yet very well written. The reader can see what direction her origin story is going in. It’s an odd decision, but it also makes perfect sense considering her state of mind. The entire scene will garner genuine emotion from readers who have been on board from the beginning.
Andolfo has made great use of flashbacks over the course of the entire series. Issue #11 is no different, as the vast majority of it is The Glance explaining her past actions. (That being said, it’s so silly who she is telling the story to that even The Glance comments on it.) The flashback is one of the most emotionally moving moments of Unnatural. As she tries to explain her actions, it’s almost as if The Glance is half justifying her actions to herself and half mad. The flashback also follows a very traditional storytelling pattern. There is an opening, the rising action, and the conclusion. This keeps the reader riveted the entire time. Some parts of the story may come off as corny, but it’s hard to deny how touching it is.
The art is exceptional in Unnatural. Andolfo’s talents always seem to look better when the colors are muted. There is a simple, almost sketch artist feel to some of the pages. In particular, there is a scene near the end with Carol and The Glance that looks very good. Emotion is also conveyed very well in the issue. There are many panels in which characters’ eyes are in focus. These moments show the love and hatred they are feeling at the moment. Unnatural may be coming to an end soon, but that does not mean that Andolfo is sacrificing emotion for action.
Unnatural #11 is quite the roller coaster ride. There are some moments that will make readers shake their heads in frustration. Then, there are the times their eyes will be glued to the action that is happening in front of them. Unnatural has always been about the ups and downs that come along when someone is trying to take control of their lives. It’s fitting that the penultimate issue is just as turbulent.