Writer(s): Bryan Lee O’Malley.
Illustrator(s): Bryan Lee O’Malley, Nathan Fairbairn, Jason Fischer & Dustin Harbin.
Publisher: Random House Canada.
Release Date: July 15th 2014.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Ever wondered what it would be like if you could fix all those mistakes you believe you’ve committed in your life? Whether they are actions within the past 24 hours, week, month or year, to be offered that easy-to-use raft that allows you to instantly take back anything you deemed not perfect is probably something that many wishes they could have this very moment. However, while regret might quickly invade your mind, sometimes these mistakes are in fact the best decisions you’ll have ever made, and sometimes you just have to live with those mistakes to make the most of your life. In Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley, author of the hugely best-selling Scott Pilgram series, delivers a stand-alone graphic novel with a wonderful moral to it, and it is one that is worth being reminded of from time to time.
Seconds is the story of Katie, a 29 year-old chef and restaurant owner who wishes to open a brand-new restaurant from scratch. With flamboyant ideas haunting her regularly to start starting fresh, she struggles to make this project come to life as life has plenty of obstacles for her to meet and acquaint herself with. As she continues to run her current restaurant with a peculiar crew of young adults in their early 20s, she one day crosses paths with a house spirit who goes by the name of Lis. The arrival of this magical entity also coincides with the sudden disposal of a notebook telling her exactly how Katie could almost instantly undo any mistake in her life. From this moment on, things slowly develop before they quickly escalate into a disaster as the world in which she lives in changes before her very eyes.
Set within a supernatural reality where everything first seems ordinary, the story progresses within a realm of mystical events and a folklore of ancient descent. When it comes to time-travel stories, there’s very little innovation possible once you’ve explored a couple of stories centered on that idea. But Bryan Lee O’Malley imagines a very tightly-knit and fully-thorough story built on the principles of time-travel and delivers it boldly in Seconds. While the story in itself is extremely predictable and will lead to an ending that could be foreseen from the moment you realize what Katie has the power to do, the execution alone makes this an excellent story to visit and appreciate. It’s how Bryan Lee O’Malley conveys his message that ultimately makes this story rewarding.
The artwork is nothing short of cute and has a two-dimensional video-game vibe to it while also flirting with manga-like traits to its character designs. The colouring essentially brings out the vibrant and mysterious vibe to the story, especially when it starts to venture into the supernatural elements. Although most characters are in their early 20s, Katie is a 29 year-old who seems more lost in her ambition than most. Her personality is brilliantly highlighted through the artwork, but also through her relationships with every other character as she tries to hold on to her youth through reckless behaviours. She even sometimes breaks the fourth-wall and sometimes interacts with the unidentified narrator giving the story an unexpected intimate edge. The art style also does an excellent job in displaying everyone’s facial expressions; it couldn’t be more clear how they felt.
Seconds plays around with time to present the fallacious belief that happiness is found in perfection and conveys a well-rounded story easy to get lost in.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!