Cleo Elward is, by all accounts, your typical, average 11-year-old girl. She’s smart, has an edgy sense of humor, and has near-crippling anxiety when it comes to speaking in class. Totally relatable, right? So imagine what happens when a shocking twist of fate delivers unspeakable tragedy and destruction to her otherwise normal life. It’s a lot for one lonely kid to take, okay?

And thus begins the first chapter of Lifeformed, a seemingly lighthearted but shockingly emotional story about surviving the end of the world. Borrowing elements from films like War of the Worlds (2005), Lifeformed takes a grounded approach to a sci-fi disaster narrative, displaying the beginning of an alien invasion from the point-of-view of our unwitting protagonist.

Much of the issue is devoted to Cleo and her relationship with her doting father Alex. The pair have a strong, honest dynamic punctuated with just enough awkwardness to make it feel all the more real. Writers and co-creators Matt Mair Lowery and Cassie Anderson have taken a realistic approach to the characters and their world, most notably with the dialogue. Avoiding the cliched pop-culture references and forced humor, every line is earnest and natural-sounding. A scene featuring an impromptu dance party might seem out of place, but here it works to great, heart-achingly sweet effect, which only makes what happens next even more devastating.

In addition to co-writing the story, Anderson handles art duties and does so remarkably. The characters look just as real as they sound, albeit in a slightly more cartoony sense. This is in no way a bad thing. Anderson’s art seems to blend the simple, recognizable designs of King of the Hill (1997-2010) with the wide-eyed, manga-influenced style of Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008). The look of the aliens and their spacecraft are unique and weirdly beautiful, albeit in a horrible, violent sense.

The reasoning behind the invasion is but one mystery that is begging to be solved, but readers won’t have to wait long. Following the debut issue, the remainder of the story will be collected in one volume, rather than serialized in monthly installments. Still if you want in on the ground floor, you’d do well to pick up this issue just so you can say you read Lifeformed before it was cool.









Character Design





  • Writers/Creators: Matt Mair Lowery, Cassie Anderson
  • Artist: Cassie Anderson
  • Editor: Wayne Hall
  • Producer: Richard Rivera
  • Publisher: Scout Comics
Cameron Kieffer
Cameron Kieffer wears many hats. He is a freelance writer and artist, creator of the webcomic "Geek Theory" and is co-host of the Nerd Dump podcast. He lives in Topeka with his wife and increasingly growing comic book collection.

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