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Throwaways: Volume One (Image Comics, 2016; #1-4)

Welcome to the first Daylight Savings Time entry of Clearing the Backlog. This is the greatest of milestones.

I wrote a while back about Coffin Hill, which I dig. Today’s entry, Throwaways, comes from its writer Caitlin Kittredge. It follows two people with special abilities as they try to escape the shady government operatives hunting them. Neither knows the other. At least one of them is missing memories of how she came to have powers. And those who offer them help seem every bit as circumspect as their pursuers.

Paranoia is the word of the day. Or, at least, well-founded mistrust. Sometimes even the line between the two blurs in Throwaways. Characters’ motivations and allegiances are not always clear, and no one seems to completely have the books’ protagonists’ well-being in mind. Which makes sense for an espionage thriller. But it’s not all fear and betrayal. There’s a healthy dose of masterful sarcasm here too.

Throwaways avoids the realistic, shadowy, filmic styles that tends to be the norm in spy thriller comics. Instead, Steven Sanders’s lines are thick and heavy. His settings are often spacious and quiet. Some of them are outdoors and, under different circumstances, bucolic. Paul Little’s colors are saturated and sometimes even brightly lit. A lot of comics like this go for a claustrophobic vibe. Here, the absence of cover makes for a uniquely vulnerable sense of danger.

I came to Throwaways because I enjoyed Coffin Hill. But it’s a very different kind of story, which Kittredge even acknowledges in the collection’s foreword. The two books have certain elements in common: characters who rely on aloof sarcasm as a defense mechanism, the weight of parental transgression, and non-linear storytelling. But Throwaways is more grounded in real-world drama despite its super-powered trappings. Come to it as a snarky, borderline-agoraphobic thriller instead of a supernatural mystery. And if that sounds cool to you, then I recommend checking it out.

Collected in

  • Throwaways, Vol. 1 (#1-4)


Writer: Caitlin Kittredge | Artist: Steven Sanders | Colorist: Paul Little | Letterers: Rachel Deering, Steve Wands

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