The Only Living Girl v2 Review

By | Thursday, March 26, 2020 Leave a Comment
The Only Living Girl volume 2
The Only Living Girl by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis is a sequel to The Only Living Boy, which I apparently reviewed the first volume of which WAAAAAY back in 2012. That was an action/adventure story, kind of a cross between Kamandi and Flash Gordon, with the protagonist being a 12-year-old boy named Erik. The Only Living Girl sees Erik return to the "patchwork planet" he traveled to previously, but he's now joined by his friend Zee, the daughter of Doctor Once who Erik fought with before! As you might surmise from the title, this story centers more on Zee.

This second volume, just released, sees Zee and Erik joined by Morgan as they seek out the Primordial Intelligence, who supposedly has the answers to saving the planet! Despite the previous books setting up a relatively large cast, their quest in this volume has the trio isolated from all their former friends. They land in a new city which contains the Primordial Intelligence, but they find they have to navigate a culture that's run very differently than ones they're accustomed to. Fortunately, they're assisted by their new friend Badou, who learns a few surprising truths about his own culture in the process!

If you're familiar with the work of David Gallaher and Steve Ellis already, this book falls very much in line with the level of quality you expect from them. This volume stands up quite well against all The Only Living Boy books and the previous The Only Living Girl volume. I don't recall looking at the follow-up volumes for The Only Living Boy for this, but this particular installment also holds up very well on its own. If you haven't read any of the previous books, you can dive in to this one with no difficulty.

I like Zee as a protagonist more than Erik. As the daughter of a genius scientist, she's pretty smart herself and proves herself quite capable time and time again. Her young age means that she's not exactly science-ing solutions left, right, and sideways or anything, but her intelligence does shine through in more than a few instances when she subverts unsaid expectations and makes very pointed observations about their situation and surroundings. Erik almost (but not quite) falls into a sidekick type of role, but with Zee as the titular hero of this series, she gets more opportunity to shine than Erik does.

Gallaher uses an interesting device here, where Zee has something of inner monologue throughout the story. While he's used it before in this series, it's a little more prominent here and I think does a good job fleshing out Zee's character to a level comparable to Erik's, despite Erik having had much more story time with the first series. It not only establishes the dynamic she had with her father growing up, but also shows a lot of the struggle she faces internally while trying to mask those same struggles to the outside world.

Ellis' artwork is always a pleasure to look at. His work has an energy to it that feels like a quick sketch, but closer examination shows what look like carefully crafted linework. With only three characters getting picked up from the previous books, he had his work cut out for him in the character design department. He turns out some interesting and effective designs there -- many of which fall under the 'monster' genre that he excels at -- and I particularly liked the Jack Kirby feel to Primordial Intelligence.

Overall, it's a fun book and a welcome addition to the series. I'm already eager to see what comes next! The Only Living Girl: Beneath the Unseen City just came out so you should be able to pick it up at your local comic shop if they're still open at the moment. If not, you can certainly order it through the usual bookstore chains.
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