She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #3 takes the reader and Luna into new territory: a first date. What started shakily last issue has developed into a fledgling relationship. Luna has a boyfriend. She and Gary go to see Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. True to the series, Luna describes the film by saying, “Everything in this feels like soft cotton.”
Unfortunately, the date doesn’t go well. Luna’s having intrusive thoughts (“YOU SAY THE WRONG THING EVERY TIME”; “HE DOESN’T LIKE YOU. YOU’RE CRAZY”) during the movie. Her anxiety escalates when Gary convinces her to drive them home in his car. She’s had a recurring fear of killing someone while driving (one I share) and when she bumps the curb, she has a panic attack.
The date scene lasts for two pages, but it does a lot of work for series writer Christopher Cantwell. With it he reminds readers that despite the flying technology at the center of the series and the violence, Luna is still a teenager, learning how to be okay with who she is.
The scene also showcases how to react to a panic attack. When Luna is reacting to what she’s thought has happened, Gary hugs her and drives her home. He doesn’t add to the panic, nor does he dismiss it. The scene says something bigger than the story: people with mental illnesses (1 in 5 adults over the course of a year in America) deserve love.
Another thing She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #3 does so well is continue to change its characters. This is a full-contact story, and everything that’s happening transforms the people who it happened to. Bill Meigs, Mom, Grandma, and Dana are growing (or in some cases, shrinking) as well.
The only problem with the series is how hard it is keeping track of the characters. There’s a rotating cast with new players being added nearly every issue but never any recaps. Maybe it’s designed to be read as a trade paperback rather than single issues, but reading it one at a time a month apart, it’s difficult keeping track of everyone’s names.
Small quibbles about a great series. Pick She Could Fly: The Lost Pilot #3 when Dark Horse releases it June 12th!
Wicked Rating: 9/10