- Posted by Johanna on July 3, 2006 at 9:42 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Reed Waller and Kate Worley
- PUBLISHER: NBM; $12.95 US
The Complete Omaha the Cat Dancer Volume 3 is where the series begins to demonstrate why readers loved and raved about it. When I reviewed Volume 2, I talked about the overly dramatic soap opera that revolved around shocking revelations. Here, though, the appeal comes from knowing and caring about the characters, not external events. The reader is hooked into “what happens next?” because the people (regardless of their cat heads) have become three-dimensional.
Oh, things can still be surprising, but writer Worley brought a new sophistication to the strip once she found her footing. One of the primary stories, for instance, revolves around former dancer Shelley learning to cope with her paraplegia. She has to reevaluate her treatment, her living situation, and her love life as she accepts, even temporarily, her wheelchair. It’s a touching portrayal of a difficult struggle.
As Chuck and Omaha come to think of themselves in a long-term relationship, they face new challenges in relating to each other, too, with a pet indicating a new domesticity. The characters have moved from California back to the Midwestern Mipple City, which matches the more realistic feel and relaxed pacing. The gang can be a bit wordy in explaining things to each other, which might be a relic of the extended serialization, with the author needing to be sure the audience is caught up between issues.
There’s still loving, caring sex and a background storyline in which a hypocritical sadistic politician is threatening Omaha’s livelihood as he works to “clean up the city” by eliminating everything that makes it interesting. She’s got a new work possibility that gives her a kind of stage fright, a self-esteem issue that any creator can relate to — “am I good enough for this opportunity?”
The art is ever more gorgeous in character design and storytelling. I often forget that the characters are anthropomorphic, because they act just like people, with a variety of body types, and the animal heads are never a distraction or gimmick.