Follow the comical adventures of a paradoxical superhero in Paradox Girl: First Cycle by Cayti Elle Bourquin. We learn that Paradox Girl, a librarian in China, has her life transformed by a wish from a water dragon. “She is a time traveler without an origin. A girl without a purpose.” She fights crime with another superhero named Axiom Man. She is also obsessed with banana-flavored waffles. In her first adventure, she teams up with Axiom Man to stop a Godzilla-like creature from stomping all over the city.
There are multiple vignettes contained within this graphic novel. In each segment Paradox Girl finds herself in a situation and always finds a humorous solution to her dilemma. A lot of the stories feel like absurdist humor, and it can wear on a person after a while. My favorite segment took place on a park bench. Paradox Girl encounters an older gentleman with tears streaming from his eyes. He is reflecting on the past and a lost love that still haunts him. It’s a meditation on the choices we make in life and how the events of our past help shape who we are. I loved the message of this story and wish there were more chapters like this one.
Paradox Girl: First Cycle revels in its use of color. It’s awash in yellows, reds, and pinks. Paradox Girl is a tall blonde who instead of a cape and tights wears a pinstripe business suit. For added sex appeal she wears black stocking and red heels. The artist is Yishan Li and you can see the Asian touches he has brought to the character: Paradox Girl wears her hair in a bun with two chopsticks, her big round eyes, and oval face reminding me of how manga characters are drawn. Not to mention the inclusion of a giant Kaiju (monster in Japanese) in the opening.
Li has ability to weave action and comedy at the same time. The sequence with the giant monster could have taken several panels, but is accomplished in two. Paradox Girl attacks the monster with an array of weapons. She tries a shovel, oar, chainsaw, and a whisk to subdue it. Her multiple attempts are highlighted by neon pink squiggly lines denoting multiple versions of herself going back in time. She finds time to even fall in love between battles. We see her at a dinner table with a man. A bubble with a red heart is all we need to know that this is a romantic scene.
Overall, I found Paradox Girl: First Cycle to be an enjoyable graphic novel. The story is suitable for teens, but I feel that young adults would be a better audience for this material. I would recommend this title for collectors who like quirky, off-beat titles. If you are expecting a Marvel/DC type superhero-type story this title is not for you or your collection.
Paradox Girl: First Cycle
by Cayti Elle Bourquin
Art by Yishan Li
Image Comics, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: T