COMIC REVIEW: SECONDS / AUTHOR: BRYAN LEE O’MALLEY / ARTIST: BRYAN LEE O'MALLEY / PUBLISHER: SELFMADEHERO / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Following up on the extraordinary success of his beloved Scott Pilgrim series, Bryan Lee O’Malley spreads his creative wings with a new standalone graphic novel about the complexities of time-bending mushrooms. Packed with sharp wit and fantastical charm, Seconds takes the spirit of his previous work and wraps it into a more tightly focussed story with some surprising new edges.
Katie is a talented young chef with big plans. After making her current restaurant Seconds a success, she looks to creating another in a building that she has always dreamed of renovating. After progress on the project grinds to a halt and her ex-boyfriend causes consternation by arriving back on the scene, Katie turns to a mysterious house-spirit who grants her the power to right the wrongs in her past. However, she soon discovers that abusing the power of second chances can have some unsettling consequences.
What unfolds is a beautifully told story about learning to handle mistakes. While the plot is relatively predictable from the outset, it's Katie with her comical, control-freak personality which makes the journey completely worthwhile. Whether it’s undercutting the narrator or interrupting the story whenever it threatens to veer into schmaltzy territory, she’s always there to zip the reader straight back into the pages of her crazy little life.
As you would perhaps expect from O’Malley, complex relationships and ‘coming of age’ themes are all over Seconds, but he also ventures into some new territory. Psychological horror elements bubble away in the background and strange trippy monsters make their presence felt as the story progresses. It’s the darker fantasy moments of Seconds which set it apart from the adventures of Scott Pilgrim.
If you’re looking for a new graphic novel that will have you gawping at every last meticulously drawn panel, you should definitely take a chance on Seconds. Rich in character, story and O’Malley’s soon-to-be signature quips, it’s a brilliantly self-contained dose of one of the most exciting writers and artists working today. If you haven’t been introduced already to his work, down a mushroom and prepare to wake anew.