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Cover blurb (from Amazon): “Stacey, a brilliant, overachieving astrobiology major at Fenton College, had planned on just another lonely Spring Break on campus. But when a hurricane batters the small college town, downing power lines and knocking out cell phone reception, Stacey and her friends are stranded with no way to communicate with the outside world at the worst possible moment: in the midst of an alien invasion.
As space insects begin to burrow into students and staff, transforming them into slobbering, babbling monsters, a conglomeration of misfits must band together to prevent the infestation from spreading. Meanwhile, Stacey’s long-stifled romantic feelings for her friend Charlotte begin to surface, while the professor she had admired and respected becomes the students’ worst enemy.
Illustrated with enormous wit and dynamism—mixing classic tropes from science fiction, indie comics, B-movies, and campus culture—this graphic novel is something different, a large-scale action/adventure story as seen from the point-of-view of a contemporary, realistic heroine. The result is a funny and singular work unlike anything else you’ve ever read.”
What I liked:
I loved the vibe of ‘Intro to Alien Invasion.’ It’s set on a contemporary college campus and doesn’t take itself too seriously. In the midst of fighting space insects, there are little jabs at tuition prices and spring-breakers. I mentioned this point in a previous review, but there is a significant lack of fiction written about college students. ‘Intro to Alien Invasion’ might be goofy science fiction, but it’s also a humorous look at college culture.
Female characters take center stage in this graphic novel, which I really appreciate. These ladies are smart, resourceful and willing to face down danger. Sarcasm is plentiful, and I felt like the relationships were realistic. Additionally, I enjoyed the fact that Stacey and her friend Gina are both science majors (astrobiology and physics, respectively).
What I didn’t like:
I was hoping for more in-depth character and relationship development. To be fair, that might be an unrealistic expectation on my part. Based on the cover blurb, it sounded like Stacey and Charlotte’s romantic relationship would play a large role in the story. It’s there, but it isn’t a focus.
Graphic novels aren’t my go-to genre for that very reason. I always walk away feeling like it was over too quickly, and there wasn’t enough character depth. Maybe it’s just a genre thing, or maybe I’m missing the point. Either way, I’m finding that I feel this same way after almost every graphic novel I read. ‘Intro to Alien Invasion’ is fun and fast-paced, but I was left wanting more.
Would I recommend this book?
Sure. For me it’s not a must-read, but it was enjoyable.
**Sensitive content warning/spoiler alert** ‘Intro to Alien Invasion’ includes a scene where a professor tries to proposition a student. It’s fairly tame, but worth mentioning. I thought that the violence and gore were pretty tame as well. The alien bugs invade people’s bodies, so there are a few gross panels, but they’re not gory. Drugs, alcohol and possibly offensive language are present, which was unsurprising to me, based on the setting.**
Based on everything else I’ve been reading lately, this book felt light, fluffy and fun. My last few reviews have all required extensive warning sections. This book doesn’t.
‘Intro to Alien Invasion’ is cute. Or, as cute as a story about body-infesting aliens can be. I read the entire thing in about an hour. It doesn’t take any serious thought and it doesn’t require any emotional energy.
For a science fiction graphic novel, I’m pleased with the representation. In addition to the LGBTQ+ story line, Stacey’s friend Gina is in a wheelchair. King, Poirier and Ahn (the illustrator) make sure to show what Gina’s experience is like in the midst of battle. She’s capable of fighting for herself, but they acknowledge her specific challenges. It’s well done and inclusive. Race is never specifically addressed. There appears to be a token black character (based on the illustrations) but the cartoonish style makes it hard to tell.
Having said that, though, I admire the fact that the diversity doesn’t drive the story. As I mentioned in my ‘Annoying Book Tropes’ post, diversity doesn’t need to be the central conflict of a plot. This is a good example of that. These characters are average college students, put into unusual circumstances.
This was a fun way to spend an hour, but it wasn’t life changing. If you need a light adventure, ‘Intro to Alien Invasion’ would be a good choice.