This hit Italian series by Mirka Andolfo (Wonder Woman (Rebirth), Harley Quinn, DC Comics Bombshells) will transport you into a colorful but terrible world—full of anthropomorphic creatures, but light on personal freedoms—by way of a breathtaking plot that travels between thriller and fantasy, with a hint of sensuality.
Published by Panini Comics. An English translation is currently in publication by Image Comics.
This work provides examples of:
- Armoured Closet Gay: An interracial variation. Leslie always tries rationalizing the same-species, heteronormative laws that her society runs on, but she is clearly repressing a few urges in the process, hence her recurring Erotic Dream.
- Alien Blood: In Issue 5, Khal's blood is revealed to be blue as a sign of his supernatural abilities. And so is Leslie's. Once the Albino's spirit leaves her after she's stabbed by Maxime, it turns back to red as a sign of her being Brought Down to Normal.
- Animalistic Abomination: The Albino is a wolf-like supernatural apex predator that spread fear in the world. Due to his loneliness, the inhabitants of Tijoux made a pact with him where they offered a Virgin Sacrifice to him in return for safety from him. Eventually, one such consort Bes attempted to slay him once and for all, leading both to kill each other. Eventually they both reincarnated, Leslie being the reincarnation of Bes and Khal destined to act as the Albino's new body.
- Awful Wedded Life: The reason why Les is so apprehensive with being paired off with another pig via Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage is because she caught her mother cheating on her father with a lion, overhearing how much she hated her husband and how she saw Les as "her problem".
- Bad Boss: Mr. Hans is crass and uncaring of the well-being of his employees, changing the uniform of his female employees into skimpy French Maid Outfits. When Leslie complains that the uniform she got was too small for her, he fat shames her instead of getting her a bigger uniform before feeling her up sexually.Leslie: Ahem... Mr. Hans... about those new uniforms. They're—
Mr. Hans: For the clients' pleasure, Leslie. Not yours.
- The Beard: Derek tries pairing Leslie up with his pig boyfriend Max as a means of lowering their taxes and hiding their relationship from suspicion.
- Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: Downplayed. While the government does not force its populace into same-species heterosexual marriages, it does everything it can to encourage this, both in rewards (like government subsidies) and punishments (with single individuals having to pay 25% higher taxes than married couples, only increasing over time).
- Big Beautiful Woman: Leslie, definitely.
- Bittersweet Ending: Maxine, Jones, and his father Napoleon are all dead, and the Albino is destroyed. A year later, the cult has dissolved without its leadership, the Reproduction Program has been abolished, Carol is running for Mayor, and Leslie and Khal are in love and raising Shea together. However, none of it changes the fact that Trish, Derek, and Pif are dead, there's no indication that Trish's parents don't still hate Leslie, and she has to live with the fact that she killed her mother to save the world. There are also still people who frown on Interspecies Romance and homosexuality, and there probably always will be; such deep-seated prejudices don't just disappear overnight, after all. And on top of all of that, it's heavily implied that the Albino is still around. But come what may, Leslie has hope for the future and she won't be facing it alone.
- Crapsaccharine World: Despite the wacky World of Funny Animals setting, the government of this world is incredibly strict on who the citizens date and procreate with. Marriage is very regulated, with same-sex relationships and Interspecies Romance banned and referred to as "unnatural." Couples that fit the parameters of the Reproduction Program are encouraged, even providing government subsidies to same-species couples that marry in under two decades.
- Crocodile Tears: Fittingly enough, Mr. Hans. When he is being interviewed over the deaths of Derek and Trish, he cries obviously fake tears whilst portraying himself as a kindly boss mourning the deaths of the two victims. All the while shamelessly promoting his diner.
- Darkest Hour:
- The end of Issue 3. Leslie's arranged date, Jones, is actually in a cult, who kidnap and use her in some kind of ritual. When she wakes up in her apartment the next day, Trish is nowhere to be found and the police are at the door. They tell Leslie she's in a lot of trouble because she never showed up for the date and that Trish is dead. And since Leslie doesn't have an alibi for where she was when Trish was murdered, it seems she's their number one suspect.
- Issue 4. Leslie is evicted from her apartment, and while staying with Derek, she realizes the dream she's been having is actually a memory from a past life, and the cult's ritual has begun to awaken more memories. The spirit of the wolf man from her dream is bound to her, and through him, Leslie learns the cult blackmailed Derek into spying on her by kidnapping his boyfriend. Derek is shot dead by Jones, but Leslie's saved by the hooded stranger who's been stalking her since Issue 1, revealed to be a wolf who's the spitting image of the one from her dream. Both of Leslie's friends are now dead, and the cult's leader, known only as "The Glance", who has been watching through a hidden camera, vows that Leslie's life will now be "a maze of constant panic".
- The Glance isn't joking either: By the start of Issue 5, the cult has used its influence to turn Leslie into the most wanted criminal in the city, with the news blaming news blaming her for being a Psycho Lesbian who killed Trish for not reciprocating, then killing Derek when he found out. Even Trish's parents think Leslie did it, and she has no choice but to work with Khal and his comrades to prove her innocence.
- Issue 8. Tijoux has been turned into a dead-end tourist trap, Bes's remains were destroyed after she died, and Khal has been stabbed with a sacred dagger. Leslie nearly kills herself out of despair before Jones shows up, takes Khal and Saya hostage, and reveals that the cult is keeping Khal's sister, Shea, prisoner. To save Khal and Saya, Leslie allows the Albino to possess her, using his powers to kill Jones and his flunkies and vowing to take the fight to the cult. But right before he dies, Jones reveals the Glance's identity. It's Leslie's mother.
- Deconstructive Parody: Of World of Funny Animals stories. In Real Life, only certain animals can procreate with certain species outside of their very specific genus (like horses procreating with mules), and even then such hybrids can be sterile or possess other health problems detrimental to their parent species. If those animals can walk and talk and form a human-esque society, it makes sense that laws would be in place to prevent population decline due to Interspecies Romance, with a ban on same-sex relations being a by-product of that system. This also seems to have a detrimental effect on gender equality as well, if Leslie's George Jetson Job Security is any indication.
- Erotic Dream: Leslie has a recurring dream of having sex with a hunky, handsome Wolf Man. In the 4th issue, it's revealed that they aren't dreams, but memories of a past life.
- Eye Scream: The Albino's power only works through the gaze of his host. Once Leslie gouges out Maxine's eyes, she loses her connection to the Albino and turns to dust.
- George Jetson Job Security: Mr. Hans acts as though he can do whatever he wants with his employees (dressing them in French Maid Outfits, fat-shaming and getting grabby with Leslie) and getting away with it by threatening to fire anybody that complains.
- Hidden Elf Village: Tijoux, a tribal civilization where Interspecies Romance is considered normal. It is proclaimed by many to be a myth, but some like Mr. Gambots, who made it his life's-work to prove its existence, believes it is real. Issue#5 confirms that it does exist.
- I Love You Because I Can't Control You: It is implied that out of all of the women offered to him, the Albino favored Bes most of all because she conspired to kill him instead of blindly fulfilling the pact.
- In the Hood: The mysterious figure who's been stalking Leslie wears a hood that conceals his face in shadow.
- Lampshade Hanging: In Issue 5, Les hogs on left-over food due to hunger. Khal appears and snarks that she's playing into the stereotype of pigs being sloppy eaters.
- Ms. Fanservice: Leslie is often seen scantily clad or in clothes a size smaller than fits her.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: Mr. Hans is Leslie's alligator boss. He is also a pervert and an asshole.
- Pig Man: The main character Leslie is an anthropomorphic pig.
- Primal Scene: When she was younger, Les accidentally saw her mother cheating on her husband with a lion.
- Propaganda Machine: The government's same-species, heteronormative agenda can be learned through televised cartoons, with signs about the Reproduction Program plastered everywhere in downtown.
- Puppet King: In Issue 6, it is revealed that the Koala Leader is a puppet for the cult.
- Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Leslie is forced to wear a skimpy French Maid Outfit two-sizes too small as her uniform, with threats of getting fired being the only thing that prevents her from complaining.
- Riddle for the Ages: We never really find out why Bes managed to fight back against the Albino when everyone else failed.
- Straight Gay: Derek, no doubt out of necessity due to the dangers of being gay in a restrictive, heteronormative society.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Les's mother admitted to her lion lover that she hated her husband so much that she becomes angry just by looking at their daughter due to her resemblance to him.
- Trauma Conga Line: Since the first issue, Leslie's situation has pretty much gotten from bad to worse.
- Wham Episode: Issue 4: Trish is dead, and Leslie is the police's main suspect. While staying at Derek's, she has the dream about the wolf man again, but then realizes that not only is the dream a memory from a past life, but that the spirit of the wolf man is bound to hers. It's at this point that what started as a story about a girl trying to navigate a utilitarian society's marriage and sex laws, with the beginnings of a murder mystery and conspiracy thriller, takes a sharp right turn into supernatural territory.
- Wham Line: When the police show up at Les' apartment at the end of Issue 3, they ask her, among other things...Cop: Where were you when your roommate, Trish Friha, was murdered?
Jones: What kind of daughter... would raise a hand against her own MOTHER?
- Right before he dies at the end of Issue 8, Jones drops a bombshell about the Glance's true identity.
- Wham Shot: Two in quick succession. Leslie's dream grows more intense partway through Issue 4, and when the wolf man pulls her into a hug, he rips her throat out. Then Leslie, or "Bes", as the wolf calls her, conjures a knife from her own blood and stabs the wolf.
- World of Funny Animals: The world is populated with anthropomorphic animals.