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Ojo #1 (of 5)
By Sam Kieth with Alex Pardee
Published by Oni Press; $2.99 USD

The first-person narration of Ojo is highly effective in getting us right inside the head of 10-year old Annie, a young girl who lives with her older sister and grandfather and has lousy luck keeping her pets alive.

We see her growing sadness as she loses a succession of pets (and one bug), always failing to keep alive that which she wants to love, always reminded of the mother she's lost -- through the animals' deaths, through the music tapes her mother recorded before her death.

Kieth uses simple, childlike drawings to illustrate Annie's inner life, the art growing more realistic where her life intersects with those older and more experienced (if not always kinder). One day Annie stumbles on yet another wounded animak, but through trial and error she manages to keep this one going, and even if we can't quite tell what the heck Ojo is, at least Annie has the satisfaction of knowing the little creature is getting better under her care.

The art and script establish a wonderful air of creepiness where appropriate, and Annie is one of the best, most fully-realized children ever to inhabit a comic book. We feel her frustration, her loss, and her longing for her vanished mother. We completely understand why she goes to the lengths she does to help her new little friend, and we wonder in horror at what this all will lead to. Fantastic storytelling that has me eager for the rest of the series. Grade: 4.5/5

-- Alan David Doane



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