Creator Sas Milledge is masterful when it comes to introspection. Despite Mamo often being full of expository dialogue, it’s about the characters when they’re not talking, why they’re not talking, what they’re thinking about instead, and so on. Just like most of the book, it’s understated, thoughtful, and fantastic.
The issue begins with teenager Jo riding her bike out to the seaside cliffs to consult the town witch. It’s windy, and the trees are swaying, with Milledge preternaturally keeping Jo moving as well as the scenery, implying two things at once. Milledge employs various styles in the comic without ever changing the visual norms; the pacing is sublime.
Jo’s mom is cursed, and only the town witch can help. Jo finds the town witch hanging out with her cat, reading a book while lounging in her hatchback. Milledge does a fine job establishing the world—there’s magic (the magic people are called the Fae), towns are supposed to have witches, and normies are supposed to have basic magic education.
Except Jo doesn’t find the town witch, she finds Orla, who’s a few years older—old enough to have a hatchback, not a bicycle—and isn’t interested in helping. Until something unexpected happens involving something supernatural, but it’s not entirely clear what. Because it’s magic, and Orla knows what it means, even if the reader doesn’t. It’s remarkably assured work from Milledge and only in the first four or five pages.
Orla and Jo talk on the way back to town, walking through a stunning forest, where they find out more about each other. It’s excellent pacing; Milledge’s superb at adjusting the speed.
There’s not just time for Orla to meet Jo’s family but also for a big reveal and then a cliffhanger, with Jo’s expository jabbering helping set the tone.
Mamo’s ostensibly YA comics, but it’s really just a great comic about characters who happen to be in that demographic. I already adore this book.