Eternity Girl is an airtight story that explores so much at once. The themes of chaos vs. order in the story come to life right on the page. Issue #3, out today, is probably my favorite issue so far. Everything comes to a head, and there are a lot of great revelations both plot-wise and philosophy-wise. In this issue it’s made clear that the plot about Madame Atom and Caroline destroying the universe’s control tower is not based in reality but rather in Caroline’s mind. It’s expertly rendered, and the end sequence where Caroline finds a way to finally kill herself was heartbreaking and so real. Visaggio continues to approach the subject of mental illness so respectively and so well that as someone who has suffered from it, I feel so connected to the material I could cry.
The first scene also introduces new characters, who seem to be the keepers of the universe, arguing about whether they should interfere with Caroline’s instability and its threat to the universe. The dialogue in this exchange got a little cerebral for me, but it’s kind of come to be the norm in Young Animal books to get overly existential at least once an issue (I’m beginning to think it’s a editorial mandnte at this point), so I can let it go. So far, Eternity Girl has done a good job of balancing these philosophical quandaries with the story and keeping it from being tiring.
I criticized Sonny Liew’s art in my review of the first issue, but it has definitely grown on me. His grasp of panel transitions makes the back and forth between reality and Caroline’s fiction seem seamless. The art really capitalizes on the psychedelic aspects while never feeling jumpy or confusing. Sometimes when the scope of the panel is larger, details can get lost, but that’s a problem even the best artists come across, so it’s not a big deal. The backgrounds when Madame Atom and Caroline are in space are beautifully psychedelic, and at this point I can’t think of anyone else who could draw this series in the same way Liew does.
While this seems like a very finite story, I would be into an ongoing series, maybe set before Caroline became suicidal. It could still tackle mental illness (as it’s been made clear that Caroline has always been a chronic overachiever and pushed herself much harder than is healthy), just in a different way than this series addresses it. But enough about my hypothetical Eternity Girl ongoing.
At its halfway point, Eternity Girl has found its stride, and I genuinely am so excited to see what the last three issues bring. It fits in well with Young Animal’s lineup while also addressing an important issue that doesn’t get enough advocatation these days. I was a little let down by the second issue, but #3 has restored my faith in this series. The use of physics as a plot point is done well in relation to the mental health themes, and Visaggio has really impressed me with her grasp on both these concepts.