January 9, 2009

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Strangers in Paradise Volume 7

Written by Terry Moore
Illustrated by Terry Moore
Abstract Studios

I had mentioned after the last volume, which was sort of "Strangers in Paradise: Year 1", that I was concerned my interest in this series may have flagged. Fortunately, with Sanctuary, things get back on track.

Sanctuary is a rather strange entry for the series. It flips forward ten years in time, after something so horrible happens that it tears Katchoo and Francine's relationship apart. Francine is a mother with a drinking problem, while Katchoo has become a vastly successful artist, albeit one without her partner David.

What the hell, you say? I say it too, but Moore winds the clock back to a respite from the seemingly endless story of Katchoo's past and features David, Francine, Katchoo, and, to a lesser extent, Freddie and Casey, working out their complicated relationships. It's obvious that the signs of strain are there, as Francine can't decide whether or not she loves Katchoo, and Katchoo can't fully decide whether or not to love David. Will Katchoo get fame and fortune at the expense of her best friend?

As their lives go topsy-turvy, we also flash back to the future again, with Francine's mother making a decision that will affect everyone. And if that's not enough plotlines going, Katchoo's past looks ready to join in the fray again. There's a whole lot going on, and watching it all unfold looks to be pretty interesting.

I was much happier with this outing, even though I feel like Moore has written himself into a corner I can't see a way out of, and my immediate thought at the end was, "Oh God, not more Katchoo past stories." However, I really like our characters, and when Moore has David pull a Curt-Swan Superman to the camera, I was literally laughing out loud.

While this series is not amazing, I am enjoying it as a rule and will keep going.