Unnatural #1 Review: Very Direct Satire and Very Rough Dialogue

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In a world of anthropomorphized animals, you are expected to be married by the age of 25. You can only marry within your own species and a person of the opposite gender. That's why it's a problem that Leslie, a pig-woman, is having recurring dreams of a wolf-man lover. She's just turned 25 too, and her job is an oppressive drag. She hopes to ignore the dreams, but she can't stop thinking about them. Even worse, turning 25 makes her qualify for the Reproduction Program run by the government.

Unnatural #1 cover by Mirka Andolfo
Unnatural #1 cover by Mirka Andolfo

Unnatural #1 has some interesting ideas about how the dregs of the nuclear family and heteronormative culture can still make individuals feel forced to settle down and start a traditional family. Hell, there are still those who think a mixed-race couple is unnatural, and this comic touches on that idea too.

That's why it's a shame this comic is very hard to read. The dialogue is rough and conveys exposition in a fashion that feels unnatural itself. I'm not as bothered by on-the-nose allegory as most, but this comic is too direct for even me.

Plus, the absolute obsession this world has with relationships makes this satire feel more appropriate for high school than adulthood and being out in the real world.

The characters only speak of the government and relationships too. It's understandable to a point considering the conceit of the comic, but it drags on from beginning to end. These people don't talk about anything other than getting hitched to a government-approved lover.

Unnatural #1 art by Mirka Andolfo
Unnatural #1 art by Mirka Andolfo

Mirka Andolfo's artwork is the best part of the comic by far, and some of the designs of the animal characters are quite clever. There is a fluidity in the art that makes motion look more natural too (I swear these puns aren't entirely on purpose). The erotic scenes have an artistic finesse to them as well. That said, there is something about how the comic hangs on Leslie's curves through almost every panel that becomes tiresome after a time.

The color work is very good. It's bright and well contrasted. It grants the world a memorable liveliness and builds good atmosphere.

Unnatural #1 has good ideas and is certainly ambitious in some respects, but the writing leaves a lot to be desired. It drives its points home ad nauseam, and the dialogue feels stilted and awkward. The art is good, but it can't save the writing. This one doesn't get a recommendation. Give it a pass.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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