“Am I asking for too much?” Leslie, the protagonist of Unnatural, ponders. “A normal life would be nice, without waking up to a drool-soaked pillow all fired up about illegal love.”
Leslie’s problem is that she’s a pig girl, in a society populated by anthropomorphic animals – and she’s having deeply sensual, erotic dreams about a sexual encounter with wolf. Why is that a problem, you ask?
In the world of Unnatural, interspecies relationships are illegal; financial incentives and tax breaks are given to animals who marry a suitable partner by a certain age and sanctions imposed upon those involved in relationships deemed ‘unsuitable’.
It’s a great, clever premise for a comic that allows an awful lot of social and political commentary; much of which that feels unfortunately very timely.
It is worth bearing in mind, however, that this comic – by creator Mirka Andolfo – was first published in Italy in 2016, so the fact that it so closely reflects general issues currently being faced in the Western world, particularly in America, is perhaps coincidental.
Then again, it does seem that the rights of many minorities as well as women in general in America have been under attack since the last Government were in power (with he-who-shall-not-be-named having loaded the Supreme Court with ‘pro-life’, anti-LGBTQ Judges, amongst other things).
It’s therefore a pretty powerfully political comic, though it does dress up its commentary in beautiful art, with appealingly designed characters. Though nudity does feature reasonably heavily, it feels in keeping with the themes at hand and doesn’t stray into unnecessary male gaze-style territory.
There’s an awful lot to like in this first issue of Unnatural and it delivers its nightmarish dystopian vision with a deft touch and clever exposition. Leslie is well written and believable, as are the supporting cast (not all of whom are as good natured or conflicted as Leslie).
It’s a comic I’m very interested in reading more of, especially given the cliffhanger which sets up a personally devastating situation for our protagonist. Highly recommended.
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