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‘Stuck:’ Graphic Novel Review

Anyone who’s felt they live a dead-end life wishes for some excitement. Leanne, the heroine in Stuck (Broken Icon Comics), gets to experience that excitement and then some.

The graphic novel starts out with Leanne living her ordinary, mundane life. Writer Jordon Lowe does a fantastic job of bringing her character to life and instantly making her both likeable and relatable. She cares for her younger sister, works at a diner, and has a boyfriend that she probably shouldn’t. Every day is the same in her world, and Lowe takes a good amount of time to develop her character before the action starts. This character development is necessary and carries the reader through to the end.

Leanne falls into a bad situation where a living object stolen from a secret government testing facility attaches itself to her. Not knowing what the object is, Leanne’s plight is made clear when the object not only starts acting on its own, but also draws power from Leanne in a strange, symbiotic relationship.

The story itself is fast paced and the characters extremely believable. Everyone knows someone like Leanne, if they haven’t been her at some point in their life. Every woman has had it her boyfriend at some point and has stuck it out without really knowing the reason why. The thrust of the story, this object that attaches itself to Leanne, is interesting and unique. I’m still unsure on what the object is exactly, but its powers certainly come in handy. In being ambiguous about the object, its origins, and implementing a not-so-tidy ending, the creators have successfully left the comic open to additional installments with enough hook to make the reader wonder what will happen next.

The art (Ansley McDaniel) is a combination of realism and animated adult cartoon. I enjoyed the way the characters were drawn and the way the action blended into the panels. There were times when I felt as if I were watching an animated show rather than reading a comic, which is always a nice translation.

One point that stayed with me throughout the comic is that Leanne isn’t drawn as a typical heroine. Women read comic after comic of heroines that are ultra-thin, large breasted, and beautiful. Leanne was drawn more realistically: a bit hippy; with larger thighs; and a less curvaceous figure. Whether it was a deliberate decision on the creators’ part to make her more average and normal, the way she was drawn made me like her even more. I could relate to her being an average woman, rather than if she had been drawn in the more popular way. I believe this will resonate with women who love comics but groan at the idea of seeing one more perfect heroine.

Overall, Stuck is a great graphic novel that is relatable, full of action, and has the overtone of secret government conspiracy. I look forward to seeing more of this storyline and seeing more heroines like Leanne in the future.

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