Mirka Andolfo’s Unnatural has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. At a glance the release from Image Comics looks like little more than anthropomorphic erotica. In actuality, the book is a deep tale of self worth, love, and friendship. Once the story starts touching on government involvement in personal lives and technology, it becomes apparent that Andolfo’s tale is more than just a dirty comic starring a talking pig.
Andolfo’s coloring in issue four (along with being the writer, Andolfo is the artist and colorist) may be the best work of the entire run to date. It’s not just that the work here is better; the first issue was bright and bubbly and drew readers into the world of Unnatural. The second issue showed that Andolfo was not just going to rely on bright colors to grab attention. In that issue, colors were less bold during the more somber moments. The last issue used pink and red during the more romantic moments and grey and green when the situation began to worsen.
The fourth issue continues the theme of using color to demonstrate emotion in beautiful fashion. Leslie’s entire life seems to have taken a turn for the worse and the entire issue is colored in a way that accentuates her mood. The issue begins with a flashback that is in the now familiar drab palette. However, when the story switches to the present, the change in the color tone is so different it is hardly noticeable. The confusion the reader feels mirrors the confusion in Leslie’s life. It also takes those that have been following the story out of their comfort zone by not following a familiar pattern. Most importantly, it sets the tone for the comic.
The issue may not be as bright as previous issues, but there are still moments that stand out. Leslie’s purple and yellow pajamas contrast all the grey. It’s almost as if she is a symbol of hope in a world that is getting increasingly darker. There are also some violent scenes in which the pages are covered in a bright red blood.
Andolfo’s art is as expressive and stunning as it has been in earlier issues. The difference here is the happy-go-lucky blue haired pig readers were introduced to seems to be gone. Leslie conveys anguish, sadness, anger and confusion during the issue. However, the moment that stands out most is when Leslie is about to go to bed and has a look of resigned contentment. It’s a touching moment that highlights the friendship between Leslie and Derek and is capture perfectly by Andolfo.
Issue #4 of Unnatural is the end of the first story arc in the miniseries. As has been the case in the entire series, Andolfo does a great job of displaying the friendship between Leslie, Derek, and Trish. The conversations between Derek and Leslie are especially touching. However, the rest of the story seems a little rushed. The plot has consistently moved forward since the first issue, but it also seemed to be doing so at its own pace. This issue seemed to pack too much into it. Surprisingly, this includes the opening between Leslie and Trish, though that may be expanded on has the story continues to unfold.
The first third of Unnatural has been a resounding success. The story exceeds expectations with its topical story and likable characters. The art has been absolutely stunning as Andolfo knows exactly how to draw her characters to illicit maximum emotion from readers. The opening story arc of Unnatural has laid the groundwork for what looks to be an exciting story.