It’s been many years since I bought a Finder comic by Carla Speed McNeil, though it was one of my favorite series back in the day. So, I was happy to find this self-contained graphic novel from 2014 when I wasn’t particularly looking for it.
It’s in full color, a big change for the traditionally B&W book. And not just “color,” but lush and gorgeous fully painted pages; bringing a real depth to McNeil’s sci-fi fantasy fueled fictional world-city of Anvar.
Although a “novel” in its own right, Third World was originally serialized in the anthology book Dark Horse Presents. So it’s organized as a series of evolving short stories that grow into each other to make one complete story.
McNeil has always been a unique storyteller in the way her stories flow from panel to panel in a style that at first feels disjointed, but eventually becomes engrossing. There is a lot of space — time-wise and emotional-wise — between her panels that allows the reader to bring their own imaginations into the story being told. Her rhythm is utterly unique.
First World begins with Finder‘s traditional main character, Jaeger, starting his life over from scratch, which is good for those of us who don’t remember where we left off with him. Then, after a series of fantastical, but really well grounded, adventures; the book ends despairingly and openly; yet satisfyingly. Anvar is at its most confounding and bleakest here. Yet, the way Jaeger navigates its worst areas with not quite optimism, but with confidence and security, we feel hope in this oft-times hopeless world.