Have you ever wished you could travel to the moon? Couri Vine is already there, on the dark side of the moon, to be precise. Unfortunately for her, she’s so much going on that it could even make the man in the moon lose his smile.
Couri Vine is charmingly written by Vanessa Shealy and effectively illustrated by Leah Lovise. The first (and hopefully not only) issue of this comic book series is set in a future where the earth is so polluted that humans have created a settlement on the moon. The settlement is depicted with intriguing detail, full of domes, nooks, and crannies. In fact, a map of the settlement is included with the names and pictures of the main characters for reference.
Couri herself has a tragic flaw—she can’t breathe without a helmet that looks like a smaller version of one of the domes that creates the settlement, or like a modern-day astronaut suit. It’s one of the tricks that make the first issue work: what on the cover appears to be just part of a science fiction plot is what makes the protagonist unique. Couri looks like a young astronaut, but she’s really a little girl with a very specific challenge.
And yet Shealy and Lovise don’t ever treat their characters or their audience condescendingly, and there is a diverse enough cast that you don’t need to be young to appreciate the well-crafted story. Like The Little Mermaid or Alice in Wonderland, having a preteen lead doesn’t prevent the tale from being universal. And also like said stories, Couri Vine is a cautionary tale, exploration, and celebration of what it’s like to be different, marginalized, ostracized, ridiculed, and/or challenged.
Couri Vine also adds to a welcome, increasing niche in the comic book industry: a series written and illustrated by women about a female protagonist. The new series joins the ranks of fellow girl-power pieces, such as Batwoman and World’s Finest.
And last but not least, Couri Vine is in essence a science fiction comic. For those of us geeks who don’t quite understand why there hasn’t been a Star Trek series on TV since 2005, this is definitely a step in the right direction. And if you’re simply a fan of the astronaut element of series like Fantastic Four and Green Lantern, you’ll love Couri Vine.