Comic Name: Strangers in Paradise (Volume 2)
Publisher: Abstract Studio
Writer: Terry Moore
Artist: Terry Moore
# of Issues: 16
Release Date: 2004
Reprints Strangers in Paradise (2) #1-16 (October 1996-July 1998). Ten years have passed since Francine has seen Katchoo, but a chance meeting at a hotel brings back all the old memories for Francine and reminds her of the past. When Francine, Katchoo, and David broke free of Darcy’s control, things looked like they were shaping up…but Darcy wasn’t finished with her brother, her best operative, or Francine. Katchoo discovered that her relationship with Francine was changing, but also decided she had to settle her past with Darcy and decide her future with David once and for all. Plus, Francine relives her earliest meetings with Katchoo in high school and the dreaded play that changed everything.
Written and illustrated by Terry Moore, Strangers in Paradise—Book 2 begins the second continuing volume of Strangers in Paradise which was initially printed by Image’s Homage imprint. The first issues of this collection were in color. The issues in this volume were previously collected as Strangers in Paradise 4: Love Me Tender (#1-5), Strangers in Paradise 5: Immortal Enemies (#6-12), and Strangers in Paradise 6: High School (#13-16).
This is where Strangers in Paradise starts to get a bit muddled. The once linear story now begins to do flash forwards and flash backs with the “present day” portion of the story taking place ten years after Katchoo and Francine saw each other (and parted under unknown conditions). In the present day, Francine is married, miserable, and has a child when Katchoo returns to her life through a chance encounter.
What made the comics in Stranger in Paradise—Pocket Book 1 a great read was the tightness of the story…here with a continuing storyline, it starts to get a bit loose and sloppy. The main story wraps up the Darcy Parker story and her quest to get revenge on Katchoo by any means possible. The second story is a flashback (within a flashback, I guess) that tells of Katchoo and Franchine’s time in high school (and the infamous Strangers in Paradise play that has haunted Francine since). A stand-alone issue is an ode to Xena: Warrior Princess and places Francine and Katchoo in the roles of Xena and Gabriel.
I don’t know that I’d really enjoy this book if it weren’t for the writing and style of Terry Moore. I love his visuals and sense of humor. This collection has the transition (though short lived) to Image Comics and a flashback moment that plays upon the fear of many of Stranger in Paradise’s readers…Francine dreams she’s a superhero and with nice full color art, some worried that Moore jumped the shark…humor and self-recognition like that makes the comic great (I know it was the first issue I read and it confused the hell out of me).
Strangers in Paradise is highly recommended by me for those who don’t read comics (men and women). It is one of those nice blendings of art and writing that shows the strength of the medium, so even here when it isn’t as strong as previous entries, it is still good. Start at the beginning but check out S.I.P.!