Sherwin Tjia, 160 pgs, Conundrum Press, conundrumpress.com, $20
I’m sure we’ve all had nightmares of falling from a great height, waking up with a jolt just before we hit the ground. Now imagine the alternative: what if, whether in dreams or reality, we found ourselves falling perpetually with no ground in sight, having to eat, sleep, and live out our entire day tumbling through the sky? This is the bizarre fate that befalls Amelia in Plummet, a new graphic novel by Sherwin Tjia, creator of the pick-a-plot series You are a Cat!
Although the premise may sound absurd or comedic, Plummet takes a bleak turn quite early, examining how ordinary people would survive if their world was, literally, turned upside down.
There is very little sense of safety in these pages, and new problems introduced regularly, whether it’s a lack of supplies, a longing for companionship, or the threat of other survivors competing for scarce resources. It’s easy to see how the “whole place is like the Wild West — everyone marking territory, suspicious of strangers.” The artwork itself adds to this sense of instability, with characters, objects and even buildings constantly rotating through the pages. It almost made me a little dizzy!
Although Plummet does make use of some popular post-apocalyptic tropes, such as cannibalism and roving gangs, the overall idea and execution are fresh and creative.
Additionally, despite some distressing themes, Plummet isn’t gratuitous with its depiction of violence or explicit language, though one particular scene in the beginning seemed jarringly graphic compared to the rest of the book.
While I enjoyed Plummet overall, the ending felt abrupt and left me somewhat disappointed. I advise readers not to expect everything to be wrapped up neatly and just enjoy the journey; Ultimately, Plummet is a refreshing take on the post-apocalyptic genre and definitely worth reading.