Archaia’s Butterfly series has reminded me more than a little of my favorite spy show of all time: Alias. You’ve got a father and a daughter in the same line of work, but they have no idea how to relate to each other within that frame because it’s complicated by a familial relationship they don’t really know how to handle, either. Basically, that twist takes the well-known spy genre to a different level. It worked for Alias, it’s working for Butterfly.
In issue #2, Butterfly’s world kind of imploded when she found out that not only was her father not dead, he had another family. Issue #3 opens with Nightingale’s newly blended family in a car, on the run from their enemies. It’s a brilliant set up. On the one hand, spy excitement. On the other hand, how does it get any more awkward for Butterfly than being in the car with your estranged father, freshly discovered half-brother, and stepmother (who is younger than you) while you’re running from the people you led to their doorstep? I was cringing on Butterfly’s behalf.
I’ve always liked the dual-storyline structure of Butterfly, with both Butterfly and Nightingale’s backgrounds being explained and giving us an idea of how they got to where their meeting. I love how the artwork differs slightly in each half, with Butterfly’s point-of-view told in harsher lines and more vivid colors, giving both characters very distinctive voices even apart from the writing. That being said, I was a little confused by all the time jumps in Nightingale’s story. Rather than moving linearly in one direction or the other, there was a lot of back and forth in the late summer/early fall of 1993 that made it difficult for me to track what was actually happening, and at this point I’m uncertain what the purpose of that was.
This issue gives us some time for Butterfly and Nightingale to deal with their relationship a little and make some choices that I didn’t see coming, with interesting ramifications. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything plays out in the next issue, the final one of the series, because I’m honestly not sure what’s going to happen. I’m so glad about that, I hate getting ahead of a spy story, don’t you? They should always keep you guessing, and Butterfly‘s creative team does just that.
I trust the world that Amel, Bennett, and Simeone have set up, so in spite of my timeline doubts you know I’ll be back to get the explanation for everything in issue 4. I give issue #3 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
BUTTERFLY #3 (of 4)
Story by: Arash Amel
Writen by: Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by: Stefano Simeone
Colored by: Adam Guzowski
Lettered by: Steve Wands
Cover by: Phil Noto
Release Date: November 26, 2014