After last issue of Paper Girls, I mused that we need to start getting a better understanding of what is going on. I should have known Brian K. Vaughan had this under control. Paper Girls #13 doesn’t necessarily explain everything, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. It also reveals a very crucial piece of character development for Mac, that explains so very much.
Several issues ago, a field hockey stick engraved with a message appeared through a time rift. I had always assumed the owner of the stick, Kaje, had sent said stick, meaning I’ve been assuming we were going to see yet another version of Kaje at some point. This issue, we learn that Prime Erin carved the message, smartly determining that the rift before her leads to the shopping mall with Future Erin. This is a very important step forward because it establishes a firm connection and understanding of these portals. We don’t know where they come from or why, but it’s clear that Erin, at the very least, is grasping the logic behind them.
More importantly, we’re starting to see how future technology is bleeding through these portals to change this past. It’s not an alternate world or timeline, so much as a constantly altering version of the past. Which is probably the strangest phrase I’ve ever typed, but it’s an important distinction. Our mystery time pilot reveals this issue that her efforts to visit this time period are having catastrophic results. Time rifts are opening, and things are getting through; not always people like our girls, but bits of technology that have no business being there. I have a theory, now, that some version of the future is using this as a trash dump. It’s odd that most of the items are small things that appear to be ripped apart from other things.
The biggest revelation here, though, is the future visions seen by Kaje, once she touched the weird fairy-spewing device. I’m not sure if she’ll realize it’s the future and attempt to change it, but it was most assuredly what she saw. This includes a particularly nice panel of Kaje and Mac kissing. Given how hostile and aggressive Mac has been to Kaje — up until the last two issues when she has learned that Kaje not only has started her period, but has knowledge that Mac doesn’t — it would make sense that it’s Mac’s way of expressing a confusing emotion.
One of the things I’ve always loved about the Paper Girls is that they don’t have all the answers; they are not mythical, omnipotent teenage archetypes. They’re just girls, figuring out girl things, knowing that with that comes a great deal of confusion. For these girls, much as with real girls, life poses way more questions than it gives answers. In some ways, Paper Girls captures the essence and struggle of being a tween girl better than anyone has done since Judy Blume. But, I digress.
There are still so many unknown elements within Paper Girls, but issue 13 has instilled within me a confidence that we’re heading toward answers. I’m assuming the visions Kaje saw are going to be key conversations and moments in the future, the question is whether or not she’ll remember or understand what she’s been given.
Our Rating: YUS
Authors: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Cliff Chiang
Publisher: Image Comics
Publish Date: 04/05/2017
Acquired via Purchase