We are introduced to an alternative reality in Montreal, Canada. Nine years have passed since a nuclear power plant exploded, leaving the region trapped in a permanent nuclear winter. Flavie is a young woman in her 20s, living with her slacker boyfriend, and is a mail/package courier on a snowmobile who seems more worried about making deliveries than the harsh winters. As Flavie drives around town, we see that many people have developed mutations, some more obvious than others. She gets caught up in drama with the local hottie, and the two have to dodge giant mutants, rabid wildlife and deadly snowflakes.
The art is simple and cartoony, reminiscent of Skottie Young’s (I Hate Fairyland & Middlewest) work. The author and illustrator, Cab, has crafted an appealing heroine, and the sight gags and mutant illustrations will appeal to readers young and old. In addition, I had the added connection of working in a town with two nuclear towers, so this storyline gave me a somewhat whimsical look at what could happen if there ever was a nuclear accident. I’m ready for more adventures with Flavie!
Flavie’s boyfriend is gone, but so is her best friend Léonie, which I found disappointing. While we are introduced to Elsie, Flavie’s spunky younger sister, I don’t know why Léonie had to be booted to make room in the narrative for her. When Marco, the love interest, gets sick Flavie is tasked with finding him the medicine he needs. She discovers that a group of people living in a nearby mountain resort are stealing the medicine before it arrives in Montreal. The two sisters, plus the mutant raccoon from the first book, put an end to that! This story felt a bit off- we get hints that the sister’s father is dead, but then find out he is alive and Flavie just avoids both her divorced parents. That plot thread seemed like a bait & switch- not cool.
The action picks up again in the last volume, with Flavie getting re-involved with her meteorology department at her former university. While the weather has been warmer recently, the research team needs to get readings from various weather stations to determine trends. Marco is half-living with Falvie, but their interests are very different and they seem ill-suited for one another. On the other hand, Alex from her team seems like a great guy and seems to be a better match for her. The team needs to visit the nuclear plant that blew up years prior, and Flavie risks radiation poisoning to get the data that is needed. The last few pages put a neat bow on the story, showing Flavie and her sister leaving Montreal for a much-needed vacation when Alex shows up.
The words that I would use to describe the entire series are cute and light-hearted. Despite this, it actually showed a nuanced view of relationships. Flavie realizes her first boyfriend was no good and then later comes to understand that while Marco wasn’t a bad guy, once the initial appeal of him wore off, she saw that he was using her for what she could do for him and there was no lasting connection between the two. Sometimes you have to go thru some toads to find your prince.
I read the first volume for the January pick for the I Read Comics Books book club on Goodreads, and then quickly read the two following books in the series, once I discovered that I liked the vibe of the first. The French-Canadian artist and author Caroline Breault (aka CAB) created a fun world, and I’m glad it was translated into English for more readers to enjoy!
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