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Sputnik’s Children

Terri Favro, 360 pgs, ECW Press, ecwpress.com, $19.95

Debbie Reynolds Biondi is the underground creator of Sputnik Chick: The Girl with No Past, a comic about an ass-kicking, time-travelling, dimension-hoping babe who, unlike most superheroes, lacks an origin story.

After 25 years of success, Debbie knew it was time to write Sputnik Chick’s origins, but this also means facing her own past. You see, Debbie is Sputnik Chick and her comics are based on her own experiences, especially the time-travelling, dimension-hopping bits. Debbie originated from another timeline that shares similarities to ours, with the biggest difference that in Debbie’s timeline the Second World War never ended. With the help of her friends and a man from the future, Debbie is charged with saving her timeline from nuclear annihilation by merging it with ours.

Fravo’s alternate timeline and its history are well-crafted. She skillfully balances Debbie’s past and present to complement each other. The past tends to outshine the present, but this could be Debbie’s nostalgia for what she left.

Debbie’s reliability as a narrator is constantly called into question. She likes lorazepam and cocktails, she’s had mental health issues, and her timeline is all kinds of crooked. While I liked the idea Favro was going for, it did not always work. Whenever Debbie expresses doubt in her own tale, I was removed from the story, Debbie’s story was entertaining and interesting enough for me to not really care if what is being served is bullshit or the real deal.

Sputnik’s Children could have used a bit more polishing in the editing process, but Favro’s skill as a storyteller is only rivaled by that of her heroine. For that, and the wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, it’s worth checking out. (Rayna Livingstone-Lang)

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