Girl Genius #11

Written by Phil and Kaja Foglio
Art by Phil Foglio
32 pages, color
Published by Airship Entertainment

It’s been a while (the book was going to be published by a company that got bought up and then lost its publishing division), but Phil and Kaja Foglio’s comic Girl Genius is back. Trust me when I say that comics are all the richer for it.

Having escaped Baron Wulfenbach’s floating fortress, Agatha Clay (along with Krosp, the intelligent “King of Cats”) are on their own. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that they’re away from Wulfenbach and his need to keep Agatha locked up because of her ability as a “Spark”, which some might call the ability to be a mad scientist at will. The bad thing is that Wulfenbach certainly isn’t going to leave Agatha alone, and something’s already on her trail… and even if Agatha and Krosp can find other people, will those being hunted by the Wulfenbachs really be able to find safe harbor?

With each new issue of the Foglio’s Girl Genius, it’s becoming more and more apparent just how much care and thought they’ve put into creating this world. There’s always fun stuff on display, like mimmoths (think mouse-sized mammoths), always on the edge of your vision. You can’t let them distract you from the main story, though, with Agatha and Krosp journeying through the world in search of allies and family. Agatha’s a smart, sensible character—it’s nice to see someone who both recognizes and regrets the danger that she brings with her by travelling through an area. At the same time, though, you want her to succeed against all the forces allied against her, which makes her sensible attitude almost frustrating. Girl Genius #11 spends much of its time setting up this new storyline, but it does so with great ease; you want to see more of these new characters as much as you also want to see Agatha’s story unfold. It’s a fun new chapter in the Girl Genius saga, and it’s got one hell of a cliffhanger, to put it mildly.

The art in Girl Genius could best be described as “fun”. Krosp’s scheming expressions are hysterical as he and Agatha look for food, and even when the focus of the book isn’t on him, his background antics always threaten to pull it back upon himself. (Somehow I think Krosp would like that.) Foglio does a nice job with the crazy science of Girl Genius, with crazy-looking technology in the form of blasters and robotic pincher crabs seeming almost perfectly normal thanks to Foglio’s style of art. Even the background details, like one-wheeled gyroscope-balanced wagons, seem perfectly normal until you look a little closer and realize just what Foglio’s done… AGAIN.

Girl Genius, after a slightly rocky start, seems to have really found its footing as a fun little comic. There’s already one collection of #1-3 in print and many more on their way, so this is a great change to jump into the world of impossible science and high adventure. I’ll admit that I’m being a little selfish here—if more people buy the book, the Foglios will make more money and we’ll get issues a little more often—but once you see the joy and wonder that is Girl Genius you’ll agree that my motives were understandable.

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