For the past year, Mirka Andolfo has taken readers on an incredible ride in the pages of Unnatural. The title from Image Comics seems like one that could be easily dismissed: featuring anthropomorphic animals and very erotic in nature, most people would mistakenly pass on it thinking it was all style and no substance. The first issue proved the story was much deeper than initial appearances would have one think. The ten issues that followed further proved that Andolfo had meaningful story to tell. But would it end on a strong note or just fade away?
When first entering into the world of Unnatural, it’s impossible to know what to expect. There is a strong story and Andolfo has some strong social commentary to make, but the art really draws you in. It is lively and filled with color. As the story progressed, the art changed with it. It took on a darker and grittier feel without ever losing the impact the debut issue brought.
The final issue is filled with some of the most striking images of the series. Issue #12 focuses on the final battle between Leslie and The Glance. This battle is told mainly through the art. It is beautiful and very emotional. The highlight of the book is a full page struggle between the two combatants. It catches the reader off-guard and progresses the story.
Unnatural has always been a book filled with emotion. From friendship to family, the story has been a roller coaster ride of feelings. It is no surprise that the final issue of the series is no different. Andolfo is great at drawing emotion in all her characters. There is shock, sadness, and anger seen throughout Unnatural. Andolfo naturally has a great feel for her characters.
The series has also been filled with lots of action. The final battle between Leslie and The Glance looks great. It is very cinematic in feel and keeps readers excited the entire time. The entire series has been leading to this moment and it is very well done. In many stories, there will be too much exposition between the hero and the Big Bad. There certainly is lots of dialogue in the issue (Unnatural can never be accused of not having enough conversation), but it does not intrude on the action here. It plays out as more of an inner monologue and fits in naturally with the combat.
The past eleven issues have seen Andolfo consistently adding layers to her characters. They may not be the most nuanced, but the writing is constantly giving new examples that further highlight motivations and feelings. Surprisingly, Unnatural #12 does not do this; this issue is much more action-oriented than any other in the series. The final fight takes up the vast majority of the time in the book. This is not a knock against the book — on the contrary, this is exactly the ending that should have been given to readers. Sometimes, stories get too clever and add shocking revelations at the end. Everything has already been explained in Unnatural so the last issue is all about resolution.
Overall Series Thoughts: Unnatural may seem like a book for a niche audience. However, that’s a classic example of judging a book by its cover. The story is a multilayered one about racism, queer issues, love, friendship, and government. It sounds like a little too much for one book to handle, but Andolfo has done a great job of building a beautiful world with engaging characters. It is a great comic book for modern audiences.