Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland. First Second, 2017. 9781596439368.
This graphic novel is currently being serialized online at http://www.thespillzone.com/
Addison lives with her sister Lexa at the edge of the Spill Zone. Their old hometown is part of it, and it cost the girls their parents. No one knows what happened. Was it a nuclear accident? Nanotechnology run amok? Aliens? Or something weirder? The military has cordoned off the area. No one is allowed in.
But Addison needs to make money, and it’s usually fairly easy to sneak in past the patrols, enter the zone, and snap a few photos. Colors have changed in the zone, so has physics. Rats behave as if possessed. Animals have mutated. Empty swings move back and forth like there are kids in them. And people caught during the event float in the air, meat puppets with glowing eyes.
After a close call with a monstrous wolf-thing, Addison is contacted by the collector who has been purchasing her work. She’s offered the chance to make a life-altering amount of money, which she could use to help Lexa, but it will mean violating all of the rules that keep her safe while in the Zone.
Westerfeld is a great writer, so it’s no surprise I found myself rooting for Addison, but it was Puvilland’s colors and Zone creatures, at once fascinating and horrifying, that had me rereading it. And there’s a creepy talking doll, too.