Written By: Jeremy Whitley
Illustrated By: Jamie Noguchi
Colored By: Jamie Noguchi, Shannon Lilly
Lettering By: Wilson Ramos Jr.
Published By: Papercutz
Release Date: 4th August 2020
Tara Smith isn’t your typical American teenager, not just because she has numerous food allergies, wears a mysterious bracelet, leads a very routine life or much prefers to keep to her studies instead of socializing. Tara has a secret that even she was unaware of. For the first time in her life, Tara wakes up late for school one morning and her life changed forever. After a series of clumsy accidents, not taking her daily medication and losing her temper for the first time – Tara ends up catching fire! Just what is happening to her body, why don’t the flames hurt her and will she ever be able to get back to living her quiet life again? Perhaps the guy in the suit will be able to explain why she just woke up in an ice box!
Now this has been an interesting read! Girl on Fire is the first book in the new School for Extraterrestrial Girls series from author Jeremy Whitley. A series that I assume will be following the new life of this volume’s main character Tara, as she comes to terms with her lost identity, heritage, appearance and how she came to be on Earth. With a Universe of possibilities in front of her, the next volume looks to include another aspect of being a teenager that Tara seems to have had zero experience of so far. But I’ll leave that a secret for now, as you’ll be able to discover it for yourself when you get to the end of this book.
One of the main themes of this book seems to be how a shy, recluse teenager is forced to adapt to their new surroundings. Almost like how a student from a public school, is whisked away to a boarding school. Quickly thrown into the fire, Tara learns much more about herself from strangers than what she understood to be true her entire life. This girl must learn to accept the truth, come to terms with who and what she is, as well as her people’s history. She isn’t the only character that must do this though, her case isn’t as rare as you would think either as a fellow room mate has a similar-ish story. There is also a lovely lesson in this story, apart from being true to yourself. ‘Don’t judge people based on their appearance’. That statement is imperative to this story.
So we have several ‘heated’ moments in this book, with emotional breakdowns, some harsh truths, tough choices, incredibly bad decisions and a good deal of apologizing. I don’t want to give away any more detail, as half the enjoyment of this book is the surprise. As you can tell from the title and cover though, its’ no secret that there are aliens involved of all shapes and species. So take your time reading this book and tell me in the comments section below or on our social media – how many different alien species did you spot. The one that stood out for me and you can spot it on the cover – is the humanoid cat. All I can picture is that they might be related to Goose, the cat looking creature known as a Flerken from Captain Marvel. Now that would be a twist! As well as the usual teenage, high spirited drama. There are breaches in Galactic protocol, some Alien child traffickers, a secret U.S government department to deal with all of this and then the usual school assignments for history class. I mean, what else can they put in this story!
School for Extraterrestrial Girls Volume 1: Girl on Fire is the first original graphic novel release from author Jeremy Whitley. His previous work includes ‘Princeless’, several issues of ‘Courage The Cowardly Dog’, Marvels ‘The Unstoppable Wasp’, and ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’. The illustrations were handled by Jamie Noguchi, who has worked with numerous companies including UDON, Marvel, Dark Horse Comics and Image. He also did the illustrations for the series Erfworld – which was among the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2007 according to Times Magazine. The background artwork in this volume however has been lacking, but the character designs – well that is where Jamie’s imagination went wild. Some designs are iconic, others look somewhat familiar, but he has done a great job in taking ideas from several genres to create his own school of aliens. I’m looking forward to seeing what or who we get introduced to in the next issue.
As of right now you can start pre ordering this book over on Amazon and Book Depository. If you can, please order it through your local comic bookstore. Always make sure to support them where you can.