She Could Fly
Christopher Cantwell (Writer), Martín Morazzo (Artist), Miroslav Mrva (Colours), Clem Robins (Letters)
Dark Horse Comics
13 March, 2019
Luna Brewster isn’t okay. All day and all night, she has horrifyingly violent thoughts. She can’t stop them, and she can’t tell anyone about them. So she waits for the day when she won’t be able to fight anymore, when she will pick up a knife, or a gun, and kill the people she loves.
But that day may never come. Luna has something else to occupy her mind right now—a flying woman. Nobody knows where this woman came from, or how she got her abilities. All they know is that a real, live woman is flying. And Luna is besotted with her. Thoughts of this flying woman keep Luna at peace, and give her hope that maybe, one day, she too will fly. When Luna finally does meet someone as interested in the flying woman as her, she ends up becoming embroiled in an international government conspiracy that might just drive her over the edge.
I picked up this book because I thought it would be a unique perspective on the superhero genre, but it ended up being so much more. She Could Fly is less about being an ordinary person in an extraordinary world, and more about being a dangerous mind trapped in an ordinary body. As much as Luna is perceived to be just like everyone else, she isn’t. Her mind is disturbingly imaginative. It is, in a way, her superpower, but it isn’t a very pleasant one.
I found some of the visuals in this book to be extremely gory, which I normally don’t like. I wondered whether the point of this story was simply to push Luna into acting out her absurd impulses—at one point she aims a gun at her meditating grandmother’s head, which is really not how you expect a protagonist to behave. But I would also say that this book required a high level of gore. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to understand the kind of torment that Luna is suffering.
There was one macabre visual that I particularly liked because it gave us so much insight into Luna. After accidentally running over her cat, Luna’s guidance counsellor, Dana, ceases to look like a human being to Luna—instead she assumes the appearance of her cat, after the accident. It’s gross and horrid, but it makes so much sense in the context of the story.
Luna is an unusual lead, in that she is clearly suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness. One is used to encountering protagonists who have already received their diagnosis and are dealing with their illness. For Luna, every moment of every day is one step closer to the inevitable dark path she imagines herself on. Because the reader is also unaware of what concerns Luna, they are swept along with her in this surreal journey. It makes for a very immersive experience.
Barring Luna, the other characters aren’t very well-developed, which made some of their actions and quirks hard to understand. For instance, it is implied that there may be more to Earl the physicist’s past, which I assumed would be revealed in this book, but has been left hanging. For all intents and purposes, Earl’s story has been wrapped up here, but there’s still an air of mystery surrounding him.
The same goes for Verna, who I definitely hope will feature in any sequels, as there is much more to her story than she let on. I loved the dynamic between her and Luna, which was unexpected, but also, what a relief to see two female characters bond with each other over something other than a man. And what makes Verna so easy to talk to? It’s an aspect of her personality I would like to see explored further.
Dana, the ditzy guidance counsellor, ends up playing a much larger role in this book than I expected. Counsellors in stories are often a footnote, a nuisance, or mystical beings who change protagonists’ lives around. Dana, on the other hand, is deeply invested in Luna’s well-being, a little too invested, as we find out. Could there be more to her story?
The art in this book is precise, but the characters’ faces are just slightly too elongated for my liking. I understand that it is artist Martín Morazzo’s style, but considering the crispness and detail he employs in this book, I wonder why he didn’t keep some of that realism for the faces.
The colours by Miroslav Mrva are stunning and vibrant. There’s a lot of blood in this book and Mrva does it justice, but he also brings to life Morazzo’s beautiful landscapes and interiors. Between the two of them, the world of She Could Fly is as real as our own.
I loved this book. I didn’t expect it to go the way it did, but the story was relatable, poignant, and surprisingly uplifting. The characters are fascinating and worth spending more time with. I would love to read more about this world and the people in it.