We begin with Caleb, a high school senior whose girlfriend Carlie dumps him as she prepares to go off to college. Caleb is distraught by the breakup, practically inconsolable. Then, to make matters worse, his parents are killed in a car accident. Things just continue to go downhill from there.
Caleb becomes despondent and brooding, and constantly seems like he’s on the verge of doing harm to himself or someone else. Carlie, meanwhile, has a new boyfriend already, and even brings him to the funeral. The story starts out depressing and, over the course of the three acts, just continues to get more and more so.
It’s a well-told story, though, and well drawn. The dialogue is particularly good, as the characters talk like real people. This means that they don’t spend their time on tons of exposition for the benefit of the audience. Most of these characters have known each other a long time and have their own rapport. They imply a lot of their backstory without saying it directly. They start sentences, but then trail off before they finish. Very little is said directly in this story. Some of it we get through snippets of dialogue, and some comes through in the artwork. But, this “show, don’t tell” approach makes the events more real than if they’d simply been explained with detailed exposition.
If you’re looking for a bit of happy escapism, then this isn’t the comic for you; however, if you want a compelling story and genuine characters that feel real, and that you can connect with—even if it’s through their misery—then you might want to check out Darkest Night.