Graphic Novel Review: Spill Zone

It’s a strange world that Scott Westerfeld and illustrator Alex Puvilland have envisioned in Spill Zone. Something tragic has happened. Something so immense and unfathomable that whole cities are evacuated and left to ruin. But what exactly happened? If Westerfeld knows, he’s not telling. Not yet anyway.

The graphic novel, Spill Zone, is a fascinating entry into the world gone awry, as our teen heroine, Addison, seeks to make enough money to survive, and to protect her younger sister, who was caught in the midst of the catastrophic meltdown or explosion or whatever it was when it happened and now, she is strangely silent. Her doll, though, is even stranger, communicating to the sister in some form of mind-melding that hints at something larger unfolding.

The doll needs to recharge so periodically in the spill zone. When Addison goes back to the devastated city on her motorcycle, where she takes photographs of the strange new world to sell, the doll comes for a ride, too. The doll is an indication of something really strange happening.

The story here revolves around a business offer that Addison can’t refuse, although she should refuse it. The work brings her deeper into the city than she would normally allow herself to go — right into the heart of the very hospital where her parents were working when the catastrophe hit, and died (as far as we know) — and then, even weirder things happen as Addison makes her escape.

Spill Zone is the first book in a series (which I think played out as a comic, too) and my middle school son and I were both hooked. But, a word of caution: this is aimed more for high school readers and older, due to some language and content.

Peace (strange, indeed),

  1. Kevin, I’m enjoying your review of graphic novels. They seem like the comic books of the 50s and 60s that retold stories of classics like Ivanhoe and King Arthur. I have to admit I’ve not found time to investigate the current world of graphic novels.

    Instead, I’m hooked on science fiction/fantasy, like the Lord of the Rings series, which I’ve read several times. Currently I’m reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, for the 3rd or 4th time.

    Have you read either of these? They are part of a longer list of similar books that I’ve read in past few years.

  2. I too am waiting to read the next Game of Thrones book. Will be very curious to see how this aligns, or not, with the TV series.

    I signed up for Goodreads. Will take a lot of time to update it with all of the books I’ve read. I had started an Excel spread sheet a few years ago to try to keep track of which series I had read. I forget after a couple of years.

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