Comic Review: Unnatural
A lovely, sexy comic about the politics of desire.
Comic Review: Unnatural
Written, drawn, colored by: Mirka Andolfo
Unnatural is a twelve issue comic written, drawn, and colored by Italian creator Mirka Andolfo. Andolfo has worked with DC Comics on Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, and DC Bombshells. Her first book, Sacro/Profano was published in several countries. Unnatural is her second published work.
Unnatural is about a pig named Leslie. Leslie lives in a society that dictates procreation and romantic/sexual relationships. So, Leslie must choose between the wolf of her dreams and being a good citizen. Leslie navigates working a shitty job with a sexist boss, being a working pig that has to pay rent, frequent fantasies, and increasing desires.
The plot is straight-forward, and the first issue takes place over the course of a day. Some readers will consider the plot a thinly veiled push for marriage equality or a “gay agenda.” It's easy to read the comic with such a surface level framework.
But there is a much larger exploration into systems of domination and control, reproductive rights, and sexual and body politics at work in the comic. Readers get the sense that yes, Leslie and her goat friend should be able to marry whomever they want and create whatever life they want. But also, they should be able to hook up with whoever they want as well, without regards to procreation.
There's a scene in the comic that introduces the reality of this world via a TV commercial. It's all about self-perseverance. This introduction is a bit heavy handed, playing while Leslie works. But it makes sense for this type of propaganda to appear everywhere in society to condition citizens to compliance.
The issue ends somewhat predictably and pushes the plot further sooner than expected.
The most compelling characters are Leslie and her unnamed fantasy wolf. The other characters feel like props at this point. There’s her roommate who tells her to control her desires. And a best friend that isn’t allowed to be with a goat that he loves. They don’t bring much to the story that couldn’t be demonstrated in another way.
The art is great. There’s a huge distinction between all of the characters. The panel layouts are diverse and work well, especially the ones that overlap. The art is sensual in a way that feels a little uncomfortable. This is because the animals are drawn so realistically. The color palette is also nice, focusing a lot on cool colors. Sometimes the lighting makes the character’s skin look shiny and plastic like, which adds to the surreal tone of the book.
By far the best pages are the sexual scenes between Leslie and the unnamed wolf. They are both given the most space in the comic and drawn the most sexually with a palpable desire.
Overall, Unnatural will work best if it shifts away from solely focusing on the dynamics of the mysterious wolf and Leslie. I'm hoping future issues build out the setting more and really show the cruelty of the world that Leslie and her friends occupy. Unnatural is a unique comic with lots of potential.
Review score: 7.5
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