Review - Lolo XOXO #1

"In our dreams, we are always free. No matter what the struggle was in our wake."

How do you handle the apocalypse? Do you cower in fear? Or venture out into the world and take your chances? Your choices are as limited as they are varied, but it still requires a certain type of person to survive. Typically, that person isn't one who is naive and untested by the world, as is the case in Lolo XOXO #1 from Image Comics. The issue is written and illustrated by Siya Oum and lettered by Josh Reed.

Lola was a young girl when she boarded a plane to see her grandparents in New York City. Her flight was fairly uneventful, save for the fact that an unknown terrorist organization wiped out the metropolitan areas in the US while she was in the air. Without any knowledge of her family's whereabouts, she's taken in by Conrad. It all sets the stage for the present, where Lola is reflecting on the state of the world, awaiting the chance to venture into the Wasteland and leave the comforts of an Oasis.

Lolo XOXO #1 is a post-apocalypse story, but Oum's added a slight twist to it in making Lola something of an innocent amidst the guilty. Lola is desperate to venture out into the Wasteland, yet she's constantly refused out of fear that her safety will be at risk. The way she's characterized though makes it seem like her desire is rooted more in something of an immaturity than being headstrong. She definitely gets in over her head by the end of the issue, yet the reader sort of comes away with some sort of twisted satisfaction in a way, as if it's like she deserves it to some extent. It's not to say that you wish something bad happens to her or anything, but you do wonder where she will ultimately end up.

Oum also handles the art on the book and this is where Oum's talent really shines. Oum offers the reader an abundance of desolation through landscapes that aren't excessively detailed, but manage to really show off the apocalypse that Lola lives in. There's a painted style pervasive throughout the book as well, even though it looks to feature an art style that's more reliant on colored pencils. Characters are depicted with well-defined character outlines and strong features, especially when it comes to facial expressions. Oum excels in presenting the characters' emotions when relevant, even mixing in some rather unconventional expressions as appropriate. There's also a good variety of panel layouts that keep things feeling fresh.

Lolo XOXO #1 is an interesting book that offers a familiar tale with a new twist. That twist is Lola's innocence that will offer a rather unique lens to view the events as they unfold. Oum infuses Lola with an immature sensibility, one that hopefully will even out as the story progresses further down the road. The artwork is great, presenting illustrations that feel very fresh and effectively complement the story itself. Lolo XOXO #1 is off to an intriguing start and fits well within the Aspen Universe, adding the possibility of yet another strong, female character in the publisher's stable. It's definitely worth checking out if you want something new to check out.

Lolo XOXO #1 hits stores April 9 with interiors below.