In the Small Review
Click here to buy posters
In Association with
As this graphic novel begins, the world is humming nicely. People toil at work and home, doing what they always do. But on a sunny September afternoon, the planet is suddenly bathed in a deep blue light. And when sunlight returns, things are slightly different: all of humankind has been reduced to six inches in height.

It’s a cruel new world. None of the other species were diminished—only man. Those critters don’t take long to catch on, either, as they start to hunt humans as prey. Snakes, spiders, rats, and other carnivores are roaming the streets and yards, not to mention bad sorts of men who’ve become “less than human” in the new order. Death, violence, and carnage lurk around every corner. And you thought you were having a bad day.

But two teenagers, a brother and sister, find ways to survive and even lead others in this shaken world. Mouse works for his father in a Manhattan office building. He’s been known to see visions—and they’ve always come true. So after the blue light, he becomes a sort of sage/leader, exhorting the survivors to follow him through a tunnel and away from the city.

Meanwhile, back at home, sister Beat (short for Beatrice) helps her mom and grandfather make sense of the tragedy, dodging snakes and cats in order to find and offer help. They find some neighbors with engineering degrees (they come in mighty handy) and discover a burned-out schoolhouse with some surprising occupants.

Mouse meets up with a shaggy homeless man named D-A-V who can hear angels, and he immediately recognizes him as the savior of his group. They join forces and lead their people to “the promised land”—a building with an attached greenhouse—but not without some shocks and twists. Look out for that owl!

I’m not typically a graphic novel reader (I lean more towards Archie and Jughead), so the blood and guts of In the Small kind of unsettled me. Otherwise, though, the artwork and the story blend together well.

As for the story, I can’t imagine why God would perpetrate this sort of thing, or Gaia (of the Gaia Effect—a sort of Mother Earth who protects herself by reducing the one species that threatens her). The religion is downplayed, though, since just staying alive is the characters’ main concern. The plot, for the most part, is believable and well constructed, and it provides a perfect demonstration of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

The tale chilled my blood, and it made me curious about the fate of these tough little guys and gals. I can’t help but wonder how they’ll survive in that enclosed space, what form of government (if any) they’ll decide to live by, and what dangers will present themselves over time. It seems a sequel is in order—and I’d like to read it.

Fortunately, at the end of In the Small, the door is left open to future mayhem, after an angel tells Mr. D-A-V that “demons walk the earth.” If I were them, I’d listen to that dude.

Submissions Contributors Advertise About Us Contact Us Disclaimer Privacy Links Awards Request Review Contributor Login
© Copyright 2002 - 2018 All rights reserved.