Posted January 24, 2014 by Jaclyn Tan in Comics

Comic Book Review: FORAGER – A Kickstarter Project By Justing Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti

In recent years, there have been a ton of fiction featuring hostile aliens or alien invasions and only a handful of benevolent ones. So the team at PaperFilms have then decided to create an original graphic novel with friendly aliens eager to ally themselves with the human race.

Written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, Forager is an all ages science fiction graphic novel about a family of three who goes on a vacation in space. Shortly after reaching orbit however, the daughter, Ellie, starts hearing voices of so-called ‘angels’ who proclaim that they are ‘coming for our world.’ It sounds like the beginning of an alien takeover of the planet, but as the graphic novel progresses, the aliens prove to be the opposite.

To quote from their Kickstarter page, “The inspiration for FORAGER was born out of frustration with mainstream science fiction movies where nearly all alien life in the universe wants to conquer or eat us. There is very little optimism, hope or joy. So FORAGER draws its inspiration films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET and Starman.”

At first glance, the art shows that this is a good quality project with an industry professional artist, Steven Cummings.

I took a chance and backed the project simply because of the art and the intriguing premise. After reading my copy of the graphic novel however, I find myself partly disappointed.

As I have mentioned, I find the art pretty and it proves that this isn’t just an ordinary start-up comic with an unknown artist. But the story on the other hand, I find lacking in conflict. True, there is the frequent arguing between Ellie’s parents but this conflict between spouses takes second place in the overall plot. I didn’t find any rising tension, or a denouement in the structure of the story. Forager reads like an extended opening scene.

I would have preferred if the story continued on to tell of Ellie’s formative years from childhood to young adulthood – how she dealt with having the voices of ‘angels’ constantly in her head, how the rest of the planet perceived this girl who claimed to speak for the aliens. Several years of peace and the rapid advancement of technology doesn’t develop in just a few days and I find myself disappointed that this part of Ellie’s story was skipped over in just a couple of pages.

Even as the years pass in the comic pages, I still don’t see a conflict with a proper resolution. The arguing between Ellie’s parents feel like the same argument, the same fight that they’d had in the start. It felt like the intervening years between Ellie as a child and Ellie as a young adult hadn’t existed for these two.

Over all for the start of a new series, Forager is interesting as an exploratory type of science fiction. But as a stand-alone, I find it much lacking.

Jaclyn Tan