Review: PARADOX GIRL: FIRST CYCLE
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Cayti Elle Bourquin
Artist: Yishan Li
Colors and Letters: Challenging Comics
Reviewer: Tony Farina
Meet Paradox Girl. She and her partner Axiom Man, fight crime all around Cityopolis at the behest of Dr. Arthur Drab. In this collection, we learn about Paradox Girl’s obsession for a banana flavored waffle brand called Waffos, how she cares very little for the space time continuum and that she is really, really funny. She is not absolutely sure how she got her powers, where she is from or more importantly, when she is from. Additionally, she does not seem to be a huge fan of herself as she often fights with herself over the last Waffo, bed space and time in the shower.
There is a moment in Peter Pan when Wendy sews on Peter’s shadow and he stands up and says, “Oh the cleverness of me.” To which Wendy retorts, “Of course, I did nothing.” Peter finally concedes “Well, you did a little.” Imagine that kind of conversation happening through 200 glorious pages of paradoxical fun. Paradox Girl does not know her name, but she knows that she can be useful, but she just doesn’t know which version of her from when or where is actually being useful. She knows she is clever, but she also knows that more likely than not, a different version of herself helped a little.
Writer Cayti Elle Bourquin has created a world where silliness and earnestness live on the same block. Paradox Girl genuinely wants to do good and help people, but she also has made herself just a bit crazy enough to where she goes off the rails. In Chapter 5, she plays all the parts in a James Bond, knock off tale of intrigue. We see her be the villian, the hero, the hench women and the damsel in distress. Each one of them is her from a different time and so, each version of her knows a little bit about what is going to happen. It is slapstick and fun. The pay off at the end of that chapter is gut bustingly funny.
The visual humor in this book is spectacular. I don’t want to give too much away because that will take the pleasure out of it, but do pay attention to the backgrounds and to the sound effects. Also, you never know which side character will turn out to be Paradox Girl in disguise. in the deft hands of Yishan Li, this book is a visual wonder. The way that Paradox Girl fades in and out is distinct and by the time a reader is a few pages in, everything in the world makes as much sense as it can.
While Yishan Li’s art work is stunning, there is a bit of an issue with the fact that Paradox Girl looks and acts a LOT like Harley Quinn. There are some shots where Paradox Girl is so much like Harley that it distracting. There is a saying about imitation being the highest form of flattery, however, there is so much flattery going on that Paul Dini might need a cut. For some people, the fact that there is not really a plot here might be a bit of a distraction, but keep in mind that Paradox Girl is not really sure who she is or when she is from, so, the confusion is part of the charm. Still, it could wear thin.
Chapter four of this book is actually so sweet and touching and perfect. It only works because of the zaniness that leads up to it, but as a whole, this book has a lot to offer. If you are a time travel buff, this book is for you. If you hate time travel stories, this book is also for you. If you are a person, reading this, this book is for you.