Girls #1: Conception
by Joshua & Jonathan Luna
(Image, 2005)

At first glance, some readers might be put off by what appears to be a book filled with naked women running around.

But Girls, a new series by the Luna Brothers (Joshua and Jonathan), is much more than that.

It begins with Ethan, a simple enough fellow in small, rural Pennystown. He's a nice guy but lousy with women, and one drunken night, after two big romantic disappointments, he lets loose with a stream of invectives against all the women in Pennystown's one bar. Heading home later in shame and remorse, he nearly runs into a young woman, naked and injured, in the middle of the road. She refuses to go to a hospital, so he takes her home and, well, nature takes its course. The next day, his bathroom is filled with large, round eggs that quickly hatch into identical-looking naked women who, once they run outside, begin attacking the townsfolk.

Conception, which collects the first six issues of the series, provides more questions than answers. But it's clear the Luna Brothers are building up for quite the science-fiction/horror/mystery adventure, with the classic elements of a town in peril and cut off from the outside world.

The story develops at a slow but steady pace, with periods of exposition and character development punctuated by pages of rampant naked violence. It's eerie, not scary, and leaves plenty of room for growth in several interesting (and one or two trashy) directions. The artwork is simple but stylish, with excellent examples of forced perspective giving it a three-dimensional appearance.

This book sold itself to me because Brian Michael Bendis, a comics professional I greatly admire, said the Luna Brothers are "the future of comics" and this volume is "essential to your collection." I'm not sure Conception alone is enough to convince me that's true, but it's hooked me enough that I'll be back for another round.

by Tom Knapp
16 December 2006

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