Illustrations – Cliff Chiang
Colours – Matt Wilson
Paper Girls Volume 4 is a 2019 Hugo Awards finalist in the Best Graphic Story category.
A note about spoilers: major spoilers are included in this review about what’s happened previously in the series and what happens in this Volume. I’m not sure how long it will be before I make it to Volume 5 and don’t want to forget anything important so this is my summary. I’ve hidden pretty much everything I’ve got to say about this Volume. Regardless, if you’re not up to this Volume, please be really careful about opening anything spoilery.
When we last saw Tiffany she had arrived in Stony Stream in 2000, in a reality where Y2K actually happened, and it’s worse than anyone even imagined. While the rest of the Paper Girls are initially nowhere in sight, Tiffany is not alone.
The old-timers are also here, but quite a bit younger than they were in Volume 2 when we saw them last. Grand Father and Prioress are considering going nuclear.
Tiffany is trying to convince the police officer who wants to arrest her for looting (which she wasn’t doing. I swear!) that she’s actually from 1988 when she finally notices that they’re not alone.
Except it seems that for now Tiffany and I are the only ones who see the gigantic Transformers fighting in the background because the friendly neighbourhood police officer only sees smoke. Huh. Go figure.
Meanwhile, Erin, Mac and KJ are at the mall. A couple of looters fill them in about the millennium bug.
Pretty big, apparently. At least our girls are all in the same time right now, even if they’re not all together.
Doc from Volume 3 mentioned that the black device the girls have been carrying around was registered to Frankie Tomatah, which was clearly a pseudonym. At the time Erin thought that name seemed familiar but before she could think about it any further all hell broke loose in 11,706 BCE. Now she has a moment to check the comics page, which Naldo and Heck from Volume 1 also did, and figures out there’s a clue there. Great work, Erin!
It turns out that Frankie Tomatah is a comic strip written by C. Spachefski and thanks to the good ol’ White Pages, Erin, Mac and KJ pay her a house call. It seems she’s been expecting them.
Charlotte explains about the Battle of the Ages. The old-timers are enemy fighters, part of a group of the first generation born after time travel was invented, who think it’s immoral to interfere with the timeline, even if you’re trying to fix it. Naldo, Heck and others like them are defying their ancestors to try to fix the timeline regardless. Okay, that’s making more sense now. Oh, and in case you forgot, the old-timers have amnesia rays. Of course they do. Although I’m not sure if I trust Charlotte or anyone other than our four Paper Girls.
Things outside remain pretty chaotic.
Tiffany wanders off to find her parents and instead finds Chris, her future husband.
I love all of the twists in this series! I got one massive surprise in this Volume when I learned Grand Father is actually Jahpo. This is incredible!
Also, future Tiffany is all kinds of awesome!
In the last Volume the bag of newspapers made a great pillow. In this Volume they prove their usefulness in another way.
I love all of this time travel and not knowing who to trust. Although a group of girls from 1988 somehow have the fate of the entire world in their hands, they’re about as clueless as I am and I adore their reactions as they attempt to navigate all the weirdness. I can’t wait to read Volume 5 so I can check out the future!
Once Upon a Blurb
The mind-bending, time-warping adventure from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang continues, as intrepid newspaper deliverer Tiffany is launched from the prehistoric past into the year 2000! In this harrowing version of our past, Y2K was even more of a cataclysm than experts feared, and the only person who can save the future is a 12-year-old girl from 1988.
Collects Paper Girls 16-20.