[an error occurred while processing this directive] Celebrating Five Years of Pushing Comix Forward [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive] Flytrap
By Sara Ryan and Steve Lieber
Published by Cold Water Press; $2.00 USD

A hugely entertaining "pilot episode" to what I hope is a long series of stories about one of the most charming and interesting comics characters to debut in years.

Maddy is a publicist whose entire life is turned upside down in the course of Flytrap's 14 pages, which document her hectic, frankly bizarre but entirely believable day. Ryan and Lieber in 14 black and white pages kept me riveted to their story and anxious to read more.

Ryan's script reads like the best story never written for DC's 1970s romance comics, except there's no romance to speak of. Maddy's a fun, engaging young woman who we see interact with a number of people -- her mom, her co-workers, crazy circus people, and the guy towing her car away, to name a few. This sequence of conversations gives us an immediate, multi-faceted overview of Maddy's world and her place in it, and by seeing her one-on-one with so many diverse character types, we feel like we know her, and want to know more.

Her lot in life at the start of the story is not an enviable one -- she seems successful, but we see that that success has been bought with at least a little piece of her soul. Her job looks exhausting and at times thankless. As it sometimes does, though, Maddy's life is transformed quickly and almost by accident, until, by the last panel, we know that her life has completely turned upside-down, and nothing will ever be quite the same again for this young woman.

As accessible and entertaining as Ryan's script is, half the book's success must be credited to artist Steve Lieber. With a supremely confident economy of line that seems at times here strongly influenced by Alex Toth, Lieber places Maddy in a real world that we recognize and relate to. She's a beautiful woman, and that's nice, but much more importantly, her every pose, movement and gesture seems altogether human, genuine and entirely in keeping with the intent of the script.

An image from page two is called into duty to serve as the cover image as well, and that's no doubt because it so aptly and succinctly illustrates what I am talking about -- there's Maddy, pen in mouth, phone cradled between her ear and her shoulder, eyebrows raised in -- what, doubt? Surprise? Perhaps a bit of resignation? She looks so utterly real in this panel that it's a perfect choice to illustrate the feel and intent of the book overall. And the wonderful, wondrous thing about Lieber is that quite literally every panel he creates for the book contains the same level of observation, emotion and skill. He is one of the most gifted artists in comics, and we're lucky that he has chosen to use his gifts for a story that is actually worth telling.

Flytrap is great comics, and at $2.00, one of the biggest bargains of the year. Order a couple of copies, and help ensure that we get to read the next chapters in one of the best comics stories of the year. Grade: 5/5

-- Alan David Doane

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Alan David Doane
Comic Book Galaxy Reviews
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Glens Falls NY 12801

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