by Jonathan Dalton
This is the second graphic novel I've read by Jonathan Dalton, a Vancouver-based cartoonist. A Mad Tea-Party is a complex example of well-planned and executed science fiction comics, and I found that there was a lot more depth to the story than I originally suspected while reading the first chapter.
This story swirls around Connie and Matilda, two 'Genies', or gene-altered humans, among the first naturally born to the first generation Genies, who were used as soldiers in a war against an alien enemy. The Genies now live in seclusion, untrusted and disliked by the rest of Japanese society.
Connie, like her parents, has an eidetic memory and is incredibly smart. Teenage Matilda is pretty much a normal human, and therefore feels alienated from her family. She ends up dating Jackson, a member of the New Youth Movement, a group of fascists who believe that Earth should remove all aliens living on it (Earth had been conquered by a different alien race, but was now independent again, if slightly more diverse than it was before).
When Matilda sneaks out to meet her boyfriend, Connie tags along secretly. We learn that Jackson was actually under orders to kidnap Matilda, and the sisters escape in his flying car. They meet an alien (who is actually from Brooklyn) who attempts to help them, but soon becomes a prisoner of the NYM himself, along with Connie. While their parents mobilize their old friends to find their daughter, it's actually Matilda who needs to figure out how to save the day.
Dalton's put a lot of thought into this world, which is very rich. In addition to the NYM, there is also the Maldivians, a group determined to wipe out national distinctions on the Earth, and to unite the human race. Into this charged political atmosphere, Dalton includes frequent flashbacks to show just what the girls' parents were up to during the war.
Dalton's art is very nice. He is very good at facial expressions, and has a nice consistent look to his world that is highly influenced by manga and anime. I particularly like the whimsical touches he adds to this book, like the hates that are worn by all members of the New Youth Movement, including a pilgram-style buckled hat.
Dalton is an interesting cartoonist, and it's well worth checking out his stuff.