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Polarity Vol. 1

Max Bemis (author), Jorge Coelho (illustrator), Boom Studios (publisher)

> Review by Diana Guild

Polarity interlaces the pithily comedic woes of a Brooklyn hipster with the burdens, and occasional perks, of mental illness. Timothy, an apathetic young artist, criticizes the legions of scenesters with whom he spends nights packed into trendy events. After an accident, he examines his struggle with bipolar disorder, a dubiously motivated doctor, and the way his medicine makes him feel—or, more precisely, not feel. What’s beneath his mask of aloof posturing? Should he revert to the brilliant but crazed former self that his superficial girlfriend, and art critics, were drawn to? Is being medicated but dispassionate the safest option, abandoning his withering dreams for a desk job? Can he leap tall buildings and hear people’s thoughts? Or is he just going bat-crap crazy? Timothy discovers that his mental instability is more than just a disorder, and that his bipolar medication hasn’t just been subduing his manic’s been suppressing his super powers. An atypical hero story with subtle character development, Polarity explores its difficult subject matter with nuance, humor and realism. It never ignores the uniqueness of its personalities even when it dabbles in a few literary tropes (and loudly asks if “unique” even really exists). Weaving in sci-fi elements that bring the story to a surprising climax, Polarity evolves from one person’s struggle for identity to a city’s fight to survive.

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