Temperance by Cathy Malkasian is a quirky graphic novel that explores the relationship between the concepts of war and security, and freedom and trust. The narrator is a tree, which has been fashioned into a wooden leg, and then later into a doll/child. The narrator tells the story of Pa, who is this mythical concept that infects people’s minds. The people, spurred by the lies of his foster daughter, live enclosed into a fortress they call BlessedBowl. It’s a ship on a sea of fire, but really it’s a compound.
Pa is no longer there, but the people follow the words and stories of his daughter, Peggy. The story is surreal, and at times, heavy handed. The metaphor comes through fine, but it definitely seems like this is targeted toward a young audience. Maybe a reader between 8-12 would get more out of this work.
With a lighter hand, the artwork is simply wrought and beautiful. A dreamy quality instills the drawings and the lines are sharp and crisp.
Temperance is a graphic novel that tries something different, and for the most part, it succeeds.