As far as our titular character Eve is concerned, life is pretty great. She spends her time on an island with her father, delivering self-monologues on crabs on mangroves trees, dreaming of visiting the bustling city of New Orleans. That is until she wakes up.
Eve wakes up to an android (assuming the form of her childhood teddy bear) telling her she has much to learn about the real world, but slowly, as its programming forbids it from overwhelming her with the state of the world. But one thing is for certain: the world is ruined. Is it too late for Eve to save it?
Writer Victor LaValle is unapologetic about the angle he takes in this story: there’s a climate crisis, and it’s up to future generations to right the mistakes of their predecessors. But, where many writers would use that as the core of the story, LaValle deftly wraps this tale around the beating hearts (or CPUs, depending) of his characters. After all, would you rather be preached to or empathized with?
Eve, from the get go, is a charismatic character who is impossible not to like. She’s funny, spunky, curious, and trying to make sense of the world around her. The addition of the android-slash-teddy bear as her guide is actually a brilliant case of oxymorons wrapped into a single character. It serves as a reminder of child-like innocence while speaking in weighty terms that demand maturation and restraint. These two initial characters make for an intriguing central cast to take us on this hero’s journey.
However, the book isn’t without its faults. The opening, while charming, is not the strongest way to grab a reader’s attention when there are already so many different post-apocalyptic narratives vying for our attention. There are a few twists that are a little foggy and required me to backtrack and re-read to sort out the confusion; tightening up the screws just every so slightly in the writing and art could have clarified our place a little more. Of course, the added benefit to this fogginess is that we are that much more able to identify with what Eve is going through.
Additionally, while I’m pretty sure about the present state of the world, I’m not entirely sure when the present is, exactly. We learn a certain geographic location has been underwater for 20 years, but that’s about it; I don’t know how long Eve has been in stasis. Is it from birth, and we’re to assume the world has been on the wrong side of global warming for as long as she’s been alive? Or is she the product of a more Forever Young-type situation?
At the risk of sounding nit-picky, there are parts of the art, as well, that contributed to my befuddlement. In Eve’s dream state (or is it??), her father looks just about as old as she is, but taller. There are some panels where their walking ranges from goose-stepping to pirouetting. But again, this is the dream state, so I suppose it makes sense that some things are just … off.
And this is by no means me saying the art quality is poor. Artist Jo Mi-Gyeong captures many different backgrounds and landscapes in extremely detailed but translatable ways. The facial expressions perfectly convey the emotions of the moment. And, of course, Wexler the teddy bear looks very huggable (minus the 372 lb part). Additionally, Brittany Peer’s colors do a wonderful job of elevating the atmosphere of the setting, using an earthy–almost dingy–palette to the point where colors that should be vibrant are a little toned down. There’s a weight that pervades this book–a weight felt by a climate in peril–and the colors subtly convey that.
Eve is an unapologetic warning about a possible future but is presented as a story full of hope and heart. While there are certainly some hitches to this first issue, our hero and her button-eyed companion make this a hero’s journey worth checking out.