Luna Brewster is troubled. Troubled in a way that’s dangerous for her and those around her. She’s visions of hurting those closest to her and hears a voice that tells her to do these things. Luna has kept all this from her parents and the well-meaning school counselor who’s dealing with her own issues as well. The high school girl’s only reprieve from her problems is are the reports about a flying woman that have captivated the nation. Tracking this flying woman’s sightings is the one meaningful thing in Luna’s life right now. So you can imagine what it does to her when she gets word that the flying woman has exploded over Chicago’s airspace. It was the end for her, and it might seem like the end for Luna as well.
It’s not, of course. Writer Christopher Cantwell and artist Martin Morazzo use the flying woman’s death as a means to further explore Luna’s damaged psyche and throw in some nutty conspiracy stuff as well. This volume is strongest when it’s focusing on Luna as its depiction of her mental impairments is harrowing in its immediacy. The authoritative voice which says, “YOU WILL KILL SOMEONE,” her imagination conjuring up some awful act for her to commit, her chant of “Rubberball” for mental stability -- all of these things help to put you in Luna’s head. It’s not a good place to be at all, but it’s so effectively realized early on that her struggle draws you in and has you hoping after every page that she’ll get better..
Reading about Luna’s struggle is the story’s biggest and best hook. The problem with “She Could Fly” is that Cantwell throws a whole lot of sub-”X-Files” conspiracy stuff at the matter of the flying woman herself. It involves a sad-sack physicist, his prostitute girlfriend, government contractors and their enforcers, the Chinese government, and the ATF… after a while it all starts to feel a bit ridiculous. This is without bringing in the walking bag of quirk that is Luna’s grandmother, newly returned from Japan after taking a seven-year vow of silence. It doesn’t quite topple the story into self-parody since the narrative remains focused on Luna and her problems throughout. It does make me hope that Cantwell dials things back a bit for the in-progress follow-up “The Lost Pilot.”