by Jeff Lemire, Emi Lenox, Jordie Bellaire
The creators of Plutona have something very special on their hands. In some ways, the book feels incredibly small, and the first two issues of plot could be summarized in a sentence or two. And yet, there is something infectiously engaging about this little story. Lemire’s approach to the script with fantastically fitting art from Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire combine in superb fashion.
Still standing where they were last seen, the strange group of misfits are still positioned around the body of Plutona at the start of the second issue. There is an air of Steven King’s The Body to the scene, placing a group of kids too young to see what they are facing, left to stare and try to make sense of it. Lemire’s handle on the sequence is incredible. The story barely moves away from the scene by the end of the issue, and yet the title manages to infuse as much development to the tone and character building as another might through frequent setting changes and scenarios. Here, the book embraces the heaviness and depths to explore in such an incident and remains there for a good while. Through the circling conversation, readers glean so much about each of these characters. The way each responds to the situation and then to each other, as well as pieces filtered into the dialogue that expand on their histories, showcase Lemire’s craft.
While these types of scripts can be challenging to craft such that the readers remain engaged over time, a lot of the success rests on the dynamic nature of the art. In order to keep readers invested in the scene for a prolonged period of time, the artists need to design their page layouts in such a way that it never feels repetitive or stale, despite remaining in a single location. Emi Lenox has an incredible handle on how to take on such a task. More than three-quarters of the issue takes place in a single location, and yet the flow of the issue never stalls. Lenox is able to capture so much in the physicality and facial expressions of each character, packing so much visual intrigue and emotional information in every page. To bring it all together, Jordie Bellaire adds impeccable tone to the series. There is a very subtle but very present mood to Plutona that is primarily due to the color palette employed by Bellaire. Facing what these kids come to find here, as they try to comprehend the sight of a body and just what to do with this discovery, the book makes fantastic visual and narrative choices to further the sensation plaguing these children. Bellaire and Lenox craft the woods around them as if there were no world beyond it. The visual direction of the story creates such an isolating sensation to support Lemire’s script. This, in conjunction with the narrative decision to remain in the forest page after page, results in a very impressive reading experience.
Similar to the final page reveal that had such great resonance with the reader last issue, the book ends in an intriguing way that is sure to have readers wishing for more. Lemire continues to treat his audience to a snippet of his art as he seeds in more about Plutona’s fate at the end. There is little more to ask of the creators of Plutona after these two issues except that the book continue to match the quality thus far.