written by Brian Wood
illustrated by Ryan Kelly
Local begins in Portland, Oregon, as a young woman named Megan McKeenan considers what will happen to her if she tries to fill an illegal prescription at a local pharmacy for her boyfriend. She imagines multiple scenarios, none of which end well for her, so she decides that leaving is the best course of action. This sets off a multiple-city, decade-long journey for Megan as she travels from town to town trying to find her place in the world. Sometimes she is the focus of the story and at others she is on the periphery as other characters take actions that will affect her. Each chapter is self-contained and tells us something about Megan from a different angle (and location).
Her decisions are often troubling, but we see Megan grow as a character grow and learn as the years tick by, until she emerges as a well-rounded, independent woman by the end of the story. Ryan Kelly’s black-and-white art is detailed and clean. He effectively shows Megan aging about 12 years throughout the story, which is no easy task. Wood and Kelly also make the effort to bring each city to life by thoroughly researching each location and presenting it realistically. Oni Press packages the book in a nice oversized, hardback edition with extra artwork and detailed descriptions about the development of each chapter of the book from the authors.
The book is rated for older audiences because of nudity, sexual situations, language, and some violence in a couple of the chapters. However, this book will have a strong appeal to many older teens because of the story of a young person finding her place in the world. Most important, throughout its entire story, Local is an excellent read.