Reviewed by Heather Wixson
Written by Terrance Zdunich
“Guilty Susie” is the first installment in the new comic series The Molting by Repo! The Genetic Opera mastermind Terrance Zdunich. This inaugural story centers around two orphans, Susie and Tony Deveraux, who are forced to live with their nefarious aunt and uncle after their young mother tragically dies.
After the siblings attend their mother’s funeral and head back to the house, a series of tragedies befall young Susie, who then is left alone with no family to speak of. Her destiny is that she is made a ward of the state until age 17.
At the end of the story, we meet a teenaged Susie, who looks as if she’s seen better days. She hitches a ride with a group of young men, and the story closes with boundless potential for the rest of the series.
That’s giving you just the very basics of “Guilty Susie” because to delve any deeper would do readers the disservice of not allowing them to interpret the comic for themselves. There is much more going on than the initial storyline of Susie and Tony’s misfortunes within their family.
Within its mere 30 pages or so, Zdunich’s “Guilty Susie” manages to do so much more than be anything but basic. Filling his tale with strong visuals and a dialogue that leaves readers engrossed beyond just the words on the page, Zdunich does a brilliant job of establishing his voice as a storyteller. Everyone and everything has a story to tell in “Guilty Susie” – even the backdrop and things as simple as objects around the house.
In almost a complete contrast to the world of Repo! that Zdunich created along with Darren Smith, “Guilty Susie” is very sparse but still manages to be visually bold. It demonstrates his growth in his ability to create a compelling piece of work that keeps audiences (or in this case readers) engrossed and waiting for the next installment.
It’s a bold choice to start a comic book series with a completely original storyline and no real pop culture reference. I commend Zdunich on making such a risky move and genuinely look forward to the next chapter in The Molting saga. The series has great potential in the pantheon of independent comics.
For more information on The Molting and to order your copy, visit the comic’s official site.
4 out of 5
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