Rain – Comic Book Review and Summary
Review and summary of Rain by author Joe Hill, David M Booher, and Zoe Thorogood
Spoiler Free Review
Rain is a graphic novel about climate change without being all about climate change. It opens with author Joe Hill explaining his inspiration for the book. It’s based on his frustration with climate change deniers but he wanted it to be more story and less preachy. I can appreciate that.
The story follows Honeysuckle and her neighbor Temp, a young boy who isn’t allowed outside due to some health issues. Honeysuckle’s girlfriend was moving in to her home when the rain fell. Crystal needles shot out of the sky and killed anyone who wasn’t under cover. Before her girlfriend could even step through the door Honeysuckle was left alone.
Rain is a simple apocalypse journey story with Honeysuckle and ragtag crew heading across the wasteland to inform a remaining family member about the deaths and attempt to find companionship in a rapidly declining environment.
I really like the characters in this graphic novel. They all have a little something different to offer than the usual apocalypse crew and I can appreciate their individual motives. My favorite part of the book is how they interact.
The art is also really great. These crystal needles are scary but also kind of beautiful. They shine and glimmer and provide striking visuals to the graphic deaths. This is a horror book but it is illuminated by daylight and sparkling projectiles. Overall, it’s just a really jarring juxtaposition that creates a unique scene.
With all there is to like about this comic book I have two major complaints. One, the ending. There’s a strange twist, details below, that I simply did not like. It seemed to come out of nowhere and mean nothing. A bad ending really drags a book down. It’ll be what I most remember about this book and that throws a shadow over everything else.
The second complaint is more personal. Rain takes place in Colorado, my home state. I live in Denver and have spent a lot of time in Boulder where this book’s setting spans. I am also bisexual and a part of the LGBTQ community.
A lot of this book deals with the lesbian main character encountering murderous bigots. I find this very hard to believe with the setting. Denver is liberal and very accepting and Boulder is an obnoxious level of hippy dippy acceptance and rainbow pride. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a queer in Boulder.
I’m not sure why this book takes place here. There are a lot of hate filled bigots in the world who want to kill lesbians but they’re not prevalent in Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Travel a few hours to the edges of Colorado and you’ll find more but definitely not in those two cities. So it was really hard for me to get into that part of the story.
Setting matters. I know most people have never been to these locations and might think of Colorado as some kind of cowboy state but a large metropolitan area is still that. And here in the US those big cities are oases of blue even in red states (which Colorado is not). I’d have probably connected more with this Joe Hill book if it had been placed somewhere near Colorado Springs instead. (There was actually a shooting at a gay nightclub there not too long ago and the military presence there makes it far less accepting to minorities.)
If you’ve never been somewhere that is accepting of gay people maybe this book will make more sense to you. But between this and the ending I was just left with the art to carry me through.
3/5 needles 🪡🪡🪡
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Rain Comic Book Summary
Rain opens with Yolanda moving in with her girlfriend Honeysuckle in Boulder, Colorado. She doesn’t even make it into the house before the crystal rain starts. Shards of needle like crystals fall with great velocity from the sky and kill Yolanda, her mother, and about 8,000 others in this city alone.
Anyone who was outside is now dead. Honeysuckle is left all alone with her neighbor kid and his widow mother. Left without much of a purpose she decides to attempt to walk to Denver to inform Yolanda’s dad about their loss. That’s about a 30 mile walk but it’s fairly doable with a good pair of shoes.
Not too long after she begins this trek she’s ambushed by some crazy cult members who claim to have predicted the rains. Since she’s gay she’s a heathen and they’re going to stop her from spreading the word of satan or something. She fights back with a handful of the sky needles and escapes.
Along the way she meets a former MMA fighter to help defend against this strange cult that seems to have formed in a matter of hours. The neighbor kid, Temp, also shows up having followed her to help. The posse is assembled.
A cop with a tractor who is attempting to collect the dead offers to help them to Denver. Unfortunately, an escaped inmate kills him and kidnaps Honeysuckle. He forces her to drive them to freedom and leaves Temp and the fighter behind to fend for themselves.
In order to escape she crashes the tractor and makes a run for it. She manages to make it to Yolanda’s dad’s house only to find him dead by the needles. However, it doesn’t appear as though he was just outside when it rained. He is tied up like it was murder. She brings him into the house and tries to stay safe.
A bigot returns to finish off these gay and gay supporting sinners but she defends herself once again. People everywhere are finding all sorts of things to blame that aren’t climate change. Terrorists and God are the number one contenders.
She returns to Boulder, another 30 mile walk, to find Temp and the fighter miraculously waiting for her. Nice but unlikely.
Then, in a very strange twist, it turns out that Temp’s mom is the one that caused the rain. She used her husband’s research to avenge his death. His research, something about crystals and rain and what have you, was stolen with bad intentions so he killed himself.
Temp is distraught at this revelation so he runs out into the Rain. For some reason the widow maniac kills the Fighter and then dies protecting Temp. I just don’t really know what to do with any of that and didn’t really care for it. Doesn’t it also take away from the whole climate change thing?
So Honeysuckle and Temp are now a duo and head out to face the world together.
The book ends with a gallery of beautiful and gruesome art involving the needles and various death scenarios.