Do you ever wonder if what you're seeing is real or just part of some vast visual conspiracy? That's a question Allison Beaufort has to confront in Suzanne Geary's webcomic Brainchild. After a blow to the head, Allison starts seeing her classmates as mutant creatures — but what if that's their true form?
Allison is just starting her last year of college and hoping not to experience too much weirdness with her roommate, Carolyn. But her life is already a little bit weird. She jokes that she's haunted by a ghost, and it's clear that poltergeisty things really do happen around her. But it's only when she's accidentally beaned on the head that things start getting truly strange.
It's not just that Allison starts seeing her friends and neighbors as bizarre, unnatural creatures. And it's not just that she's confronted by her own monstrous (not to mention vicious) döppleganger. It's also that she has a mysterious vision, one that includes a cryptic message from her past. Allison has a lot to puzzle over on top of college. Is she going mad? Or has she stumbled on some hidden secret of her world?
It's clear that Geary has a great deal of fun coming up with designs for Allison's monstrous friends. (She's also a very careful costumer and student of body movement; some of my favorite aspects of Brainchild are the way her characters hold themselves.) But even beyond the artwork, Geary does a really nice job of blending her big mysteries with the everyday nuisances of college life — breakups, awkward encounters with the neighbors, balancing friendships. This new supernatural lens on her world is important to Allison, of course, but it's not her entire life. And that's what leaves me looking forward to seeing more, and riding along with Allison as she solves these mysteries.