Unearthly, Volume 1

Ted Naifeh, Author, Elmer Damaso, Illustrator . Seven Seas $10.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-933164-09-0

Ann is a wallflower; she hides in her high school behind glasses and a book, with only her best friend, Nikki, as a confidant. She falls for Jem, a pretty boy nerd in her English class. There's just one catch—he's dating Rae, the drop-dead gorgeous, ultra-popular volley ball star. And he might be an alien. Ann fumbles through the awkwardness of young love, making mistakes and running afoul of Shane, the local rebel. Nikki effervesces and offers incompetent advice. Rae hides her hurt feelings behind a vicious facade. And Jem transforms overnight from a shy and sensitive bookworm to a punk who thinks nothing of beating up Shane in the bathroom. This manga may masquerade as science fiction, but it is really an elegantly crafted portrait of a girl's journey through adolescence. Ann's social screwups are familiar to anyone who's lived through high school, and her struggle to do the right thing is all the more heroic because of her flaws. There are no two-dimensional characters in the story by Naifeh (Courtney Crumrin ), and Unearthly doesn't sugarcoat the horrors of high school. Damaso's Ameri-manga art is clean and engaging. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/28/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
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