Lola XOXO by Siya Oum

IMG_2438Usually when I am bored I search around Ebay looking for comics that I certainly do not need. Somehow this one popped up on my radar. I had not heard about it prior, but in doing some quick research I found that it was somewhat rare and just a little hard to find. So being the calm, cool, collected, and calculated consumer that I am, without a moment’s hesitation I purchased all six issues.

Siya Oum is an artist from Honolulu, Hawaii, who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. After looking through her commissions it looks like she mostly works with Aspen Comics. There is not much info out there about her other work and as far as I canIMG_2439 tell this book as well as a spinoff are her most famous published works. She has also worked on a few other titles from Aspen including Fathom. I cannot tell if she was the artist on those other books or just commissioned to work on a few pages or what. Regardless her work is awesome. If you are interested there are some pretty cool videos on Youtube showing her drawing and coloring, pretty amazing! I wish I had talent!

This story takes place in the somewhat near future where some sort of apocalyptic event took place, like a IMG_2447nuclear holocaust. The few survivors live in New York, or what is left of the city, trying to live as best they can. Lola, who was just a child when the disaster happened was traveling across country to stay with her grandmother in NYC when her flight was grounded. From there a nice man named Conrad, took her under his wing and basically raised her teaching her how to fight and a plethora of life saving skills. Conrad and his group venture out into the Wasteland from time to time to try and collect anything and everything they can to trade for supplies. Lola always wants to join them on their journeys but Conrad warns that it is too dangerous. Fed up with her situation she takes matters into her own hands and ventures out into the Wastelands on her own.

This is a very cool post-apocalyptic story. It most immediately reminds me of The Book ofIMG_2441 Eli, but with a female lead character. This is one of my favorite genres, and to see it done with a female lead character is really cool and different. Somewhat like Z for Zachariah, but it has been ages since I read that book and have not seen the movie.

The story has a very nice diverse cast. There are plenty of characters that are introduced and all have relevant parts in the story. I did like how the story seemingly follows two distinct sets of characters and eventually brings them together as the story draws to a close. This was a very cool aspect of the story and something that you do not see all that often in comics. The other cool thing is that this story spans six issues. I have read enough comics to finally say that I think this is the perfect length for a miniseries. Four issues is IMG_2444too short in my opinion, as there are not enough pages to really do the story justice. Six issues is the perfect length, and Siya did an excellent job of utilizing all six during the story. Four issues always seems rushed and the story always moves at a lightening pace and there is often a lack of character depth. Most if not all of these problems are solved with two additional issues, big props to Siya.

One thing I found interesting is that Lola throughout the story, did not accomplish or solve any of the problems she originally set out to. There is so much going on in these six issues that Lola is constantly sidetracked helping her friends that she forgets her own IMG_2442objectives. Part of me thinks there could very well be a sequel in the works. I do know there is a book called Lola XOXO Wasteland Madam, but I am not sure how that story ties into this one if at all. It says that this story is a spinoff but I am not sure how it ties into the original story line? I am curious as to what the other story is about as I would love to see more of this world. There are a few other things mentioned in the book that I wish were explored in more detail, which is again why I think there could be a sequel.

That is possibly the only negative that I found in the story. There are quite a few things that seem to be just left hanging out there with no resolution in sight. There is one element in the story that is very interesting and I would love to see how that plays out, but IMG_2443I guess I will have to wait. As I mentioned above there is also the fact that none of her original problems that she set out to figure out ever got solved. So I liked this story but I was a little bummed at the ending. Not that I needed everything wrapped up nicely, but maybe just a little sliver of hope for Lola, she has been through a lot.

One thing I did like was the character of Lola. She was robbed of her childhood and is forced to grow up immediately.   She seems to be this totally innocent and naïve individual who is stuck in this very rough and cruel world. It is interesting to watch her try to figure out this world for herself and make decisions that are life altering. Reading the book it is easy to say how silly Lola is with her decisions but it was fun watching the character IMG_2446realize her mistakes and see that all people are not as kindhearted as she is. But such is growing up.

The artwork in the book is very well done. It is somewhat stylized but not overly done. I felt the artwork fit nicely into the overall tone of the story. It is somewhat gritty and you get a feel for how this post-apocalyptic world looks and how it might feel as well with is grittiness. The artwork does not have clean or sharp defined edges, which I think again adds to the tone and world that Siya is trying to portray. A cleaner artwork may not have had the same feel to it at least in my opinion. The colors were all very toned down, mostly IMG_2445Earth tones, and a lot of browns and tans. Everything is consistent with how from how the characters look to the colors used to help create this world that Lola lives in. The page layouts are mostly ordinary, nothing over the top, but a few nice full page splashes. Regardless I felt the artwork in the story is very well done.

All in all I recommend checking this one out. It is a pretty cool read, especially if you like the post-apocalyptic genre. What I liked most is that it is a very different take on a theme that has been done before. You may have a little trouble tracking this series down as it has become somewhat of a collector’s item. There are also quite a few variant cover issues that are also fetching a few dollars on Ebay. So depending on what you are after you could IMG_2448spend some cheddar on collecting the six issues series. There is also a TPB edition out there if you wanted to go that route. Either way this is a pretty cool series with some great artwork to go along with it, throw in an interesting theme and genre and you have a pretty solid story. Check this one out if you get a chance.

Manik

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