Review by Karl Verhoven
Eve takes the climate change warnings being ignored today to create a society where only the tops of the tallest buildings in Manhattan remain above the water line, and humanity has devolved. Broadly speaking, there is a way to do something, but it’s not easy, and it involves a long journey. Oh, and the fate of the world depends on an eleven year old girl who’s just woken from suspended animation, and an android named Wexler who’s designed to resemble the teddy bear of Eve’s younger days.
It’s a captivating set-up from Victor LaValle, but then while his name may not be known to comic readers his back of the book biography reveals a writing career to be respected. Good writers are good writers, and LaValle has no difficulty adapting to the requirements of telling a story in comics form. Eve exploring the world she’s awakened into is mixed with the explanations of how that world came to be, what might be done, and why it’s down to her to do it. The big danger is the prolonged exposure to the toxic air transforms people into zombie-like creatures on reaching puberty, and the surprises keep coming. One of them is the presumption that what’s being seen occurs roughly simultaneously.
Like LaValle, Jo Mi-Gyeong is a name relatively unknown to comic readers, but you’d not know that from looking at her confident storytelling and fine-lined panels. Lavalle supplies Eve’s sympathetic personality, but Mi-Gyeong brings her to life via an unusually perceptive talent for displaying what Eve feels. It’s there with other people also, and Wexler and Eve’s surroundings are fully realised.
“If a machine failed as often as humanity has, wouldn’t you have scrapped it by now?” It’s a relevant question, yet posed by the biggest threat in Eve. LaValle drops other interesting observations, such as the death of humanity not being the death of the planet, and delves into very dark areas of his dystopian future. Ultimately, though, his story is about humanity’s capacity to overcome, and it’s a thrillingly unpredictable journey.
There’s an automatic assumption that any story starring a child is aimed at that age group, and Eve falls into the category of bucking that assumption. Young adults are the primary point of engagement, but plenty of adults ought to enjoy this intelligent coming of age road trip.