House of Women by Sophie Goldstein. Fantagraphics, 2017. 9781683960515. 200p.
Four women, Sarai, Kizzy, Riva, and Aphra, devoted servants of the Empire, arrive on a frontier world to start educating the natives. They meet Jael Dean, employee of Grendel, Inc, who reports on the minerals and plants for his company while fornicating with and drawing the local women to pass the time. His behavior is a bit shocking, as are the aliens, but not all of the women are as prim and proper as they’re supposed to be. Then there’s trouble as the nature of the male half of the alien species becomes apparent, as well as the desire of (at least one) of the women for Jael’s affections.
Sophie Goldstein has a beautiful way of drawing alien landscapes in her graphic novels. The shapes of her characters and buildings and even the flora look pleasant and friendly because of the curves she draws. It makes the danger, when it appears, much more startling. My favorite part of this graphic novel is when the shit hits the fan — there are huge brush strokes (some over word balloons) to express loud, unintelligible alien screaming. (The women can’t hear themselves until they move away.)
If you haven’t picked it up, her other science fiction graphic novel, The Oven, is also worth reading. (Full disclosure: Sophie drew Poopy Claws, which I wrote. And I’m a huge fan of all of Sophie’s work.)