A back in January I received my first ever Comic Bento box and within its cardboard walls I found this very intriguing book, Siya Oum’s Lola XOXO.
As I mentioned way back then, my awesomely nerdy girlfriend said “they could not have picked a better book for you…the main character is a blonde haired, blue eyed leggy chick who obviously kicks ass and it is set in a post-apocalypse world”.
Having now read the book I can say her immediate assessment was largely correct. Lola XOXO (referred to simply as Lola from this point on) tells a pretty captivating story of the titular young woman as she reaches adulthood in a land devastated by nuclear war. In the opening pages Lola is a small child on an airplane from Los Angeles to New York to visit her grandmother. While in flight the plane she is one is forced to land in Dayton, OH when the attacks begin. Stranded in a strange place with no family Lola meets a man named Conrad and the two of them watch in horror as a nuclear blast destroys part of New York (it is also shown that Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago are among the cities hit).
The book flashes forward several years and a now young adult/late teen Lola is living in the ruins of New York with a middle aged Conrad and other survivors. Conrad has raised Lola like a daughter and taught her how to survive, something apparent very early in the book when she makes short work of a group of would-be assailants in a bar. The bulk of Lola’s story deals with her trying to find the means to make her way west to find her parents and the difficulties of such a trip in a post-apocalyptic America, including but not limited too escaped “gladiator” types known as Carnies, bizarre cannibal tribes and a deadly area known as The Divide.
Admittedly there aren’t a lot of surprises to be had in this first volume as it delivers fairly standard post-apocalyptic fair but it is still an enjoyable read for fans of the genre. The art style varies, sometimes being incredibly detailed and others resembling colored sketches. At no point did I feel that the art detracted from the story but it could have been more consistent.
As for the story I am admittedly hooked and want to know what happens after the closing moments of the book. I want to see more of Lola and her companions travels, I want to know if she ever makes it out west and if her family is still alive.
Final Verdict: 8 out of 10
Lola XOXO is solid book and definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre.