By Drew Baumgartner
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Spoiler alert for season one of Westworld, but I’m now deeply suspicions of non-explicit linearity in sci-fi. Fiction has long featured flashbacks and achronological storytelling, but usually by being up-front about when and where those things are happening. Westworld reminded us that stories don’t have to be transparent about when things are happening in relation to one another, and with characters that are impervious to age, we might make bad assumptions (or be intentionally misled). It’s unclear to me how much this applies to Eternity Girl, but that’s exactly why I’m so wary of jumping to any conclusions.
From the very start of the issue Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew are playing with our sense of linearity, splicing two disparate scenes together.
At first blush, these scenes couldn’t seem more different — one is grounded in the reality of houses and police officers and standard procedure, the other features fundamental cosmic forces conferring on some kind of etherial plane. But both find characters reacting to Caroline’s acts of destruction, and formulating plans for how to respond. It’s enough to make me wonder if the acts of destruction they’re responding to aren’t somehow one in the same. Or if one of the scenes doesn’t just exist in Caroline’s imagination.
Then again, the scenes seem to converge at the end, as Lord Crash maybe impersonates Never Man? But again, the linearity isn’t entirely clear. Later in the issue, Caroline’s conversation with Dani is intercut with her starting the Chaos engine with Madame Atom, but it’s not clear if these events are happening simultaneously, which Carline on two planes of existence at once, or if not, which might have happened first (and by how much). Is Caroline’s decision to blow herself up the next step of Madame Atom’s plan, or is this a (largely) unrelated moment from an entirely different turn of the eternal cycle? Could the parallels we see between these two scenes (and the two at the beginning) be coincidence (or intentional misdirection)?
There aren’t a ton of rock-solid clues for us to hold on to at this point, but I’m intrigued at the way colorist Chris Chuckry color-holds the linework (that is, washes it out to a dark purple) for Caroline.
It makes her stand out not only in contrast to her scene partners, but to the very worlds she’s interacting with. It subtly reinforces her otherworldliness, marking her as different in both the real world and the eternal one. Only, the characters we meet at the beginning of the issue are handled in a similar way, suggesting that Caroline is perhaps more like them than she is like Dani or Madame Atom. We don’t yet know what that means (or when any of this might be happening in relation to one another, if it’s happening at all), but it does suggest there are rules governing this world that are consistent, even if we don’t fully understand them yet.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?