And Welcome Back To Review Starlight
by Akira B.
Illustrated by Joe Sparrow / Banner Edit by Caitlin Rogers (*)
Relatability is seeped into the pages of Cuckoo by Joe Sparrow, as it is a tale that revolves around your average young adult, Dorothy, aimless and drowned in stress and bills in a world that expects her to have so much accomplished by the age of 20. We’ve all been there. Some of us are still clawing our way out of those expectations.
Dorothy Weaver is 19, still living with her mother, and trying to figure out her place in the world. She’s still in a creative rut in her art course, bills are piling up at home, she’s made her first and only friend, and anxiety is at an all time high for her. But the identity crisis, on top of the general crisis Dorothy has, is so much more than that as the seamlessly slips into the sci-fi genre and introduces that she’s manifested cosmic powers beyond her comprehension. If she didn’t feel alienated before, she certainly does now. And in a way that is recognizable to many, as Dorothy tries to find answers in order to fix her life, it feels like the world is only giving her more questions she can’t find the answers to. It’s a push and pull of anxiety of change.
In terms of seamlessness, the artstyle plays a huge role in this. There’s a dance between the slice-of-life genre’s artistic mundanity of regular life and the sci-fi’s genre of sharp edged geometric shapes. We see the world for what it is, nothing spectacular but still distinct in its ways and then we get to see the world for what it could be in all of its different shapes and colors. The art itself isn’t seeped in realism as much as it is ‘realistic’ but the cartoony style that Joe Sparrow has makes a great avenue for more expressive faces to really get different emotions like anxiety, relief, and confusion across.
When married together the stress of everyday life and cosmic powers are leveled on the same playing field making it visually allude to the change that is forcing its way into her life. This is shown with Dorothy’s new best friend, Elle, a woman with similar cosmic power but with less of the stress. Where Dorothy stresses, Elle has learned to go with the flow and accept things for what they’re worth. The two bounce off each other, where one learns patience the other learns pursuit but despite it, the two are still wholly themselves and deal with things the only way they know how.
This story does well in its artistic pacing, expressing how we and the characters don’t have much of a choice but to take things one day at a time. No matter how much our anxieties grow or how much the cosmos wants to tamper with normalcy, all one person can truly do is take a breath and plan for the next day.
And really, that’s the nice thing about Cuckoo. In all of that worry, in all of that stress - no matter what new thing that’s being faced it’s a good reminder to take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, and go at your own pace.
(*) - These illustrations were posted to this review with permission from the copyright owner. WildStar Press does not own the rights to these illustrations. Contact the copyright holder for more details.
Welcome to or Welcome back to, Review Starlight, this small expansion to the WildStar Universe. Hope you enjoyed your stay. We'll see you in the next one.
- Akira B.