Story & Art: Guillem March
Colour Assistant: Tony Lopez
Translation: Dan Christensen
As we reach the penultimate issue of Karmen prepare to have your heart broken as the various threads start to pull together. We start to loop back to where it all began as we finally find out what’s going on. We see how the characters we saw at the start with the telephone conversations fit into what really is a tragedy. Cata gets her final revelations and it turns out that she had no idea about what people really felt.
Her selfishness is completely acknowledged as she weeps over the fact that her decision has ruined the life of herself but also her childhood sweetheart, the only man she ever loved and thought she’d lost; Xisco. It’s when she realises what she’s doing to him that is the final tipping point as she rushes through the final moments of her life desperate for one last chance to talk to the people she should have talked to before, when they could hear her. When she had the chance.
It really is just a tragedy as communication could have saved her. Not only from dying but also saved her from herself. So you’ll need tissues. Lots of tissues.
Yet there is still hope here. It’s good to see that Cata is having these moments and though it’s heartbreaking to see what she’s lost there’s hope in the very fact she is facing the truth.
Cata isn’t the only one on a journey as Karmen deals with issues at ‘work’. Karmen’s approach is unique and she’s invoking some much higher powers in her belief that what she is doing is right, even though it’s at odds with her direct management. She’s under threat too because she chooses to let souls have a moment along their own path, something that doesn’t go down well with her higher ups.
The art in the scenes with Karmen and her place of work is mind-bendingly brilliant. The use of staircases that seem infinite or going back on themselves evokes some of M.C Escher’s best works such as ‘House of Stairs’. I found my head tilting this way and that way trying to make sense of the perspective. It works superbly well as if this is how the world Karmen comes from would look to a mere mortal, outside something that doesn’t make perceptive sense to us but that Karmen seems to easily inhabit.
In a book full of great art that really was a standout.
The flashbacks that Cata suffers when she touches people also continue to really evoke memory. Poignantly she sees the past of two thieves as immigrants on an overcrowded boat giving her perspective on why they are doing what they are doing. Something lacking in the people arresting them. Then the desperate assault of memory she gets as Angelina, Xisco’s now ex-girlfriend, pushes an arm through Cata to extinguish her cigarette. The pain she feels is quite real and she feels those memories.
We also see Cata and Xisco in her youth back when things were simpler and back when it’s quite clear where the relationship was heading but neither of them really understood it. It’s a great call back to the early scenes we saw of them as children in the first issue.
I don’t know what happy ending there is as whatever happens people are going to be upset. I like to keep the hope that Cata will find something good in a second chance, that Karmen will prove that she’s doing the right thing and will keep her job. Most of all I hope that tissues are on sale next month because I get the feeling I am going to need them.