Review by Frank Plowright
David Barnett and Philip Bond pull off one hell of a trick through the opening chapter of Eve Stranger. On the one hand readers will burn with envy at the action-packed thrills of Eve’s day to day life, yet they’ll also feel very sorry for the ongoing tragic limitation of that life. Eve wakes up every morning with no short term memory, surviving via instructional notes received in packages she sends herself each night.
That’s a smart reworking of the premise schlockily used for the movie 50 First Dates, but it gets even better, as Barnett also writes short back-up strips charmingly illustrated by Liz Prince suggesting that the main action may all be some form of dream. It adds a pleasing layer of ambiguity to what’s already a fast-paced jolt of pure fun.
Eve’s memory loss is due to nano-technology she injects every day. It provides her with enhanced strength and agility, but the unavoidable cost is that her memory is wiped other than wispy childhood recollections of a happy family life from the days before she was first injected. That first injection was to cure a mystery illness that would otherwise be fatal.
The novelty of the initial plot is reflected by Barnett’s writing all the way through. The premise allows the continual introduction of the amazing, and it’s duly supplied, from her bespoke motorcycle, stylishly designed by Bond, to a sympathetic gorilla, also stylishly designed by Bond. It’s as if Barnett has combed through the nonsense Superman stories of the early 1960s and figured out how to update such material to make it feasible and relevant for the 21st century. Every single page sparkles as Barnett and Bond mash genres together with an enviable lightness of touch.
Prince’s back-up strips are a further treat, contrasting the self-assured and capable Eve seen in the main story with a vulnerability, and the science with magic. Barnett has left the door open, so let’s hope for more Eve Stranger and soon.