In this graphic novel, science fiction meets psychosexual drama when four women try to bring “civilization” to the natives of a remote planet on the fringes of the known universe. Something dark is growing in Mopu. The only question is whether the danger that will undo the women’s delicate camaraderie is outside the gates―or within.
The art is exceptional, influenced strongly by the starkness and sensuality of Aubrey Beardsley, with a dash of Harry Clarke and maybe a hint of early Hope Larson? It’s an interesting mashup of influences — it’s a retelling of a 30s novel / 40s movie about colonialism set on a new world that gives it a sci-fi pulp feel, with an element of horror. The story itself is sparse, relegating storytelling to art and Mood, but I think not enough time was given to the villain’s descent into madness. It happened too quickly, with hints very early on, and I didn’t understand what was driving her besides lust.
I read the book through twice to try to get a better handle on it, but still feel like I didn’t quite get what was going on. The dream sequences are lost on me too. I find that a lot with Fantagraphics books — beautiful art but the story is too literary and goes a little over my head. But, I think this book is more about the aesthetics and ambiance, which it does very well.