Paradox Unto Herself
I’ve been waiting for this book for a long, long time. The concept is great, the art is awesome and the stories themselves are amazing. Paradox Girl was an awesome read from start to finish.
The first issue begins with Paradox Girl being woken up by two other versions of herself and already we’re left puzzled by what’s going on. Things are quickly brought together as we’re introduced to how she uses her powers and how it often leads to multiple versions of herself occupying a single span of time at once. This is a very interesting way to show how her powers work as we come back to these past versions as the issue progresses from PG Prime’s point of view, showing us how she got to each of these individual points throughout and sometimes even creating weirder paradoxes of her own.
This issue also does a good job of a small bit of world building. We are introduced to her hero partner, Axiom Man, a decently serious character that acts as PGs best friend and sort of a mentor. We’re also shown some of the kinds of threats that their hero community faces off against in the form of a dinosaur Kaiju. She defeats the beast by traveling through time to get weapons to fight back… or to fight another version of herself to get the last “Waffo,” her recurring favorite snack.
This issue was super fun and a good way to introduce the character! Li’s art really made it feel adorable and full of life and would have made me hooked on the series if single issues were released.
A Fun Romp
Issue two is just a fun romp, though it suffers from feeling unfortunately similar to the last issue.
Being familiar with her powerset can make one yearn for something more innovative than just a full circle. This issue starts with PG being awakened by the sounds of one of her future selves snoring and has a bit of foreshadowing. She then hears a scratching sound and finds a wolverine outside, digging through the trash. The rest of the issue is spent trying to find the thing, bringing back different animals to fight it and the previous animal brought back when the last betrays her. Eventually it reaches the point where animals have taken over the future, paying off the foreshadow from earlier and causes the entire night to cycle back to the beginning of the night.
This issue was still fun, but didn’t really have much substance to it.
Issue three was probably the least interesting of them all. It focuses on a presently unnamed villain who seems to have a vendetta against Paradox Girl for his life being in shambles.He holds PG and Axiom Man at gunpoint while PG explains the concept of Chekhov’s Gun to him and Axiom Man while telling the villains story. His story is told in reverse order; from the event that made him snap, to another that compounded his previous issue, and the issue that started it all.
Paradox Girl, of course knowing this moment was coming, reveals that it was all her fault and she had to have everything happen in order to foil the real villain’s plan. She apologizes to the villain, now known as the Paramaniac, through one of his flashbacks and they leave the building. The Gun Paramaniac held them at gunpoint with remains unfired until the last page of the book as the real villain, the boss of some demolition, company fires it and destroys the building he’s in.
This one was a chore to read. There was a lot of dialogue and the man turned villain wasn’t very compelling to read about. His struggle was terrible as he lost his job, his girlfriend and his car, but I guess it was hard to care because of how comical it was all played as. The Chekhov’s Gun was moderately funny, but the subversion of the trope was actually funny as many other supposed Guns were fired off VERY quickly without hesitation.
The next issue was possibly the best and most heartwarming of them all.
Paradox Girl meets an old, black man sitting on a bench, crying about a broken watch he’s holding. PG, being the good guy she is, decides to listen to his life story. He got the watch from his father, who got it from his father. He was the son of a white man that wasn’t really around his family because of social norms at the time, but grew up well adjusted and eventually was drafted into World War II. He made friends, lost them, did horrible things and eventually met his wife and had kids.
Since the watch broke, he’s turned the time to every important moment in his life, but can’t turn it to the moment his wife died. PG then gives him a new moment, the time when he met her and told his story. He cherished the moment up until his own death a month later and PG kept the watch after.
This issue was immensely somber, but shows that heroes don’t just have to fight, but also listen and make the people happy. I loved this one the most.
Issue five was a fun parody of James Bond films/old train heist stories. The idea of this issue was great in that every character was just PG in different costumes, most having gone through the scenario at least once or twice. Each acting as something different, PG Prime was the super suave spy, but another acts as the villain who planted a bomb on the train. This issue would have been rated higher if not for the ending as it turns out that PG is performing a puppet show for school children.
I would have enjoyed the idea of Paradox Girl having timelines where she realized the futility of it all, given the nature of her powers, but I suppose that this story is far too lighthearted for the kind of darkness that story would need.
There Are Always Consequences
The final issue showed a bit of consequence for Paradox Girls actions.
For however long, she’s been going back in time to get the last box of Waffos or just stealing them forever. When she and Axiom Man come across an old, abandoned Waffos restaurant, PG goes back in time to its heyday and gets trapped in the past by the President of the stores that Waffos were sold in because PG fought other versions of herself for them. He manages to block her powers and keeps her locked up with all of the Waffos she can enjoy while she stews in misery, not able to use her powers and having to rely on her mind.
I loved this because she admits that she never has to use her mind or think about things because she can just alter time to solve her problems. It starts to weigh on her and she asks herself if it wouldn’t be worth it to just live a normal life without the ridiculousness of time travel, that maybe she has caused enough trouble.
After six months, however, her captor makes a mistake and PG is able to piece together who he is. She notes the technology that he’s using to stop her powers is used to help protect the city years from now, and deduces that she knows who he is and that he wouldn’t risk losing his future wife and kids to keep one girl locked up.
She also notes that because she’s still able to have adventures in the future means that she knew that she was going to be let go. She doesn’t call him a bad person and says that he’s not a villain, but what he was doing was wrong and he lets her go. In the end, she gets back to Axiom Man and accepts her crazy out of continuity life with a nice call back to the watch momento from issue four.
The rest of the book is various other short stories of generally good quality, but overall, Paradox Girl was a wonderful experience. She’s a fun character and Cayti Elle Bourquin writes her with such love and care that it’s hard not to be entranced by her bubbly nature.
Yishan Li’s art is also perfect because of how cute it can get. She has a way with making faces look very different with each new expression and poses characters in a very cartoony manner to give the book extra personality. Most of the stories were good with a few duds, but they were very few and far between.
Paradox Girl is well worth a read and with extra back up stories to support these six issues, you’ll crave more of this character and her world.
How did we rate Paradox Girl TPB? 4 Sodas
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.