REVIEW: Centralia 2050: A Mystery Worth Solving

Centralia 2050 is a rare example of a single creator being able to put out a high quality story coupled with some truly impressive art.  The graphic novel collects the first chapter of the series, Awake.

Originally released online as a web comic by Michelle Stanford the series centers around a young girl named Midori who wakes up in the title city of Centralia in the year 2050.  Midori has no memories of her past or who she is. The only person she feels a connection to is a mysterious girl whom she’s had dreams and visions of.  Her quest for this girl and for the truth about her past will uncover more about Centralia and it’s denizens than she was meant to know.  She will learn that Centralia is not what it may seem on the surface, but harbors secrets of it’s own.

Early in her adventure she meets a boy named Grey who she latches onto and sweeps up into her adventure.  He gives her a place to stay when they meet after she confesses to not even knowing where she lives. Grey provides a great access point for the reader as they learn about Midori and her background as she tells him what little she does know about herself.  Rather than going the simple route and using a narration to explain things and get the reader up to speed Stanford has found a more creative way to convey this much needed information.

Not only does Stanford write the series, but she supplies the artwork as well.  I was truly impressed with her use of the black and white medium.  She uses shading and gradients in tone to show Midori as apart from the world of Centralia when needed and also how entwined they are at times.  Stanford also does an impressive job of giving texture and depth with her use of greyscale that would normally only be able to be achieved with colors. The city of Centralia became a character itself due to the dynamic style of Stanford’s art and shading.

The book seems to have a very strong manga influence, which fits the feel of the story very well.  If you are a fan of manga it is worth checking out.  The story was engaging and kept my attention and the artwork had a smooth flow and draws your eye where it needs to go.

I recommend checking the book out and if you are looking for more check out the web comic for the further adventures of Midori in Centralia 2050.

Story: 3.5
Art: 4
Overall Rating: 3.75

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