After a few months on hiatus, the next chapter of the thrilling story of She Could Fly returns. This was a story that captivated the minds of comic readers with its exploration of mental health over the backdrop of a mystery interspersed with family drama and political intrigue. Talk about a combination!
The story begins with the incidents of the previous volume referenced and a visual and narrative recap is given by Luna, our main character, who has settled into somewhat of a mundane routine at a mental health facility. As she references events that would have stretched credulity, this time she has distant mental health professionals who robotically inquire about her experiences with little to no connection and interest/emotion as compared to her time with Dana, the previous counselor who, as it turns out, ended up in the same mental health facility and then escaping about a year ago — the revelation of which gives us an idea of how far along the story has come time-wise.
As we dig in closer, it turns out the happy ending that we seemingly got for everyone is not so happy. Benji, Luna’s dad, is having his own mental health issues with the loss of his mother (Luna’s grandmother). The mystery of Mayura, the original flying woman, remains unresolved. Verna, the seeming prostitute who ran off with the flying technology, turns out to be more than what she seems. And Bill Meigs, the small time tech enthusiast who held on to the tech for such a long time continues to be tortured for information.
At the core of it all is Luna and the realization for her that she’s not really found happiness in the wake of everything that happened, the numerous drugs and the mundane routine she has established for herself has simply just put a temporary cover over what remains lurking within her mind: the darkness that we saw tantalizing glimpses of in the last series. And we see all it takes is a slight disruption in her normalcy for it to come back to the surface. The issue ends with a revelation about Luna’s family that continues the theme of things being taken to their extreme while being hidden underneath the surface (literally in this case).
I had gone on the record as saying I didn’t think it was necessary to continue to this story. I do think that it’s appreciated that Cantwell uses the continuation to emphasize that mental health struggles are a war, not a single battle, but beyond that, most of this issue seems dedicated to setup and giving us a glimpse at what has everyone been up to. As usual, things aren’t entirely clear in those few instances where there is real action, and that’s deliberate in order to keep us on our toes. However, some clarity will be welcome in the next chapter, otherwise it will do little to dissuade my concern about the need for further exposition.
The art continues to be impressive. Morazzo is in top form as he comes up with new visualizations of fantasy worlds for Luna to feature in, and his final page with a reimagining of a character from the original volume is quite impressive and epic. The colors also are much more pronounced than the previous volume, and you can tell he relishes the chance to explore the palette as the mood is much more erratic in this volume than the previous one.
While part of me is happy to hear that Cantwell and Morazzo are back to tell the tale of Luna and the She Could Fly universe, this issue turns out to be more of a setup and a preparation for what is next rather than actually continuing the story per se. Hopefully in the next chapter we begin to progress the story and see some new perspectives on the mental health theme.