Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds panel.

Our President Cleo Is Growing Up In Lifeformed: Hearts And Minds

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The last time we met Cleo we wished she was president. One of the better main characters from a comic that we can think of off the top of our head. Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact was part one of Cleos’ story, Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds is the second installment. The graphic novel under Dark Horse, by Matt Mair Lowery and Cassie Anderson, is due for release September 4th, 2019. However, The Daily Fandom got a first-class read on the entire novel. (Cries in Lifeformed alien language.) Last time we gave Cleo Makes Contact a 100% score, so let’s see how Cleo is this time around…

Should she still be president?

Cleo Is Still Mighty Although She Is Growing Up In Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds

In Cleo Makes Contact, we meet a rather adolescent Cleo who has been dumped into this world she doesn’t quite know anything about. Still being young, she didn’t know much before her father was murdered either. Cleo had to make a name for herself (by herself) and she had an alien dad that didn’t quite know what he was doing either. So, what is a teenage girl to do?

Throughout, however, she exhibited a powerful willfulness; a desire to stay alive; and she exhibited authoritarian material (Cleo for president!) Now we are continuing her story in Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds with her alien dad and we have a bigger issue on our hands. Someone is out to get her, but who could that possibly be? Who could possibly be out to get Cleo? The warm and fluffy Cleo? What enemies could she have? In the second installment, we get an idea of how much Cleo will put on the line for the people she loves, and the ones she doesn’t know quite well enough yet.

The Narratives Are Written Gracefully

The writing on this second issue is just as astonishing as Cleo Makes Contact. Matt Mair Lowery has an emotional grasp on the character of Cleo. What astonishes me is that he writes adolescence in a relatable fashion for all ages, not just one. With Cleo, without the circumstances she is under, we can all relate to her in some regard. We have all been children and we have all made hasty decisions at one point (yes, even you).

The Characters Are Written So Well That We Became Attached To Them After Cleo Makes Contact

Cleo is figuring out what the heck is going on while trying to grow up remarkably fast. Under the situation she is in, she has to grow up as quickly as possible, there is no time for fluff. Instead, she makes subtle mistakes such as defying her alien father and doing what he says not to do. As well as her alien dad being suffocating because “his” memories are coming back from the original source human (which sounds weird out loud). There were various moments in Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds that just made the writing something outstanding to read.

Coming from the first graphic novel, which we relished, it is difficult to top it. We gave it a 100% score, so the second novel truly had to top what was brought before. It did. The story’s continuation added depth to the family that we had in the first. The attachment to the characters is one of the aspects that we love, still. Cleo, being “everything marvelous about the comic book medium,” is a fictional character that goes into our top five without a doubt.

Alien Dad Has Fascinating Character Development From Cleo Makes Contact To Hearts and Minds

Cleo, as a character, is written well, had depth, and is only a teenager. To have that as a teenager is beyond me. I was… not on the same page as Cleo when I was a teenager, so she is by far the strongest teenager I know. The alien dad is an added bonus to this novel. In Cleo Makes Contact, the alien dad was developed, but we didn’t get much because he was still coming into fruition throughout the narrative. Throughout Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds, the alien dad’s narrative has expanded quite a bit.

We get that he is having visions of Cleo in her childhood and becoming attached to her as if she is his own daughter. In a way, she is. But in a way, she isn’t. It is quite a weird relationship to define. Nonetheless, that “father figure” is happening with or without permission and it gives our alien dad a lot of depth and character development. On one hand, he doesn’t want to feel this way, and on the other, Cleo doesn’t know what to do with it. She has grieved about her previous father already.

Consequently, it must feel weird to have another that looks exactly like your previous father again doing the same things that the original did. (That would confuse us.)

Cassie’s Art Can Do No Wrong, No Wrong

Throughout Cleo Makes Contact, the art was a high aspect we touched upon. It is what made the comic so lovable, aside from the writing. We loved the purple tone of the entire comic, it made it adolescent and worked well with Cleo and the alien genre.

That color was an interesting one to choose from but worked out and ever since then we’ve been in love with the entire dynamic of the series. This follows on the inside of the second graphic novel, Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds. We have the same color tone, but they feel, in a sense, a bit more grown-up. As we grow with Cleo, the colors have to as well. Cassie does a marvelous job with this and even with the characters aside from Cleo.

There is a specific panel that we talked with Lowery about (as we were asking which pages we can use for this very article) and we chose an image of Ayesha fighting in battle against “the aliens.” This very picture, among many others, is such a gorgeous look at what Cass is capable of (and more). The way Cass can showcase so much emotion in one picture is just exceptional.

It added to the emotion of the comic and the showing aspect. Matt did the telling of the narrative and Cass truly bestowed the “showing” effortlessly. Honestly, Matt and Cassie should be president alongside Cleo. Matt, Cass, and Cleo — all presidents in our world.

Honestly… Just A Breathtaking Second Graphic Novel Lifeformed: Hearts and Minds Is

The second installment of Cleo’s journey makes me want another one as soon as possible. There is so much to explore with her character and the growth one can do with her character. I hope Dark Horse orders more from this series and truly lets it shine into something incredible. What makes the series outstanding, as aforementioned, is that Cleo isn’t just for younger audiences.

Cleo is for young, old, modern, teenagers, and everyone alike. She resembles anyone who has gone through something similar in a different aspect. Cleo is a superhero, not just a “little kid;” she is mighty, fierce, and obstinate in all of the best ways. Here’s to Cleo and her new alien family! Thank you, Matt and Cassie, for creating a world we can all see ourselves in with such genuine characters.

HEARTS AND MINDS IS A GLORIOUS SECOND INSTALLMENT
Cleo is back for a second installment and if you think she should've been president before, she proves she warrants it in Hearts and Minds. Matt and Cassie have provided development on her character throughout this TPB/graphic novel that attaches us to who she is becoming as a teenager/adult. Cleo is one of the best characters in comics right now and is well-deserving of the admiration she obtains.
THE GOOD
CLEO'S GROWTH
ALIEN DAD'S GROWTH
DEVELOPMENT IN CHARACTERS AND PLOT
THE NARRATIVE IS JUST OUTSTANDING FOR CLEO
THE PURPLE COLOR CODE IS THE PERFECT AESTHETIC
CASSIE'S ART SHINES THROUGH THE PAGE
A PERFECT DUO TO CREATE THIS STORY
ALSO THE ALIENS ARE KIND OF COOL? IS THAT NORMAL TO SAY?
THE BAD VILLAIN WAS SNARKY AND WE LOVED IT
THE BAD (NOT REALLY)
IT WASN'T LONG ENOUGH
I NEEDED MORE CLEO, ESP AFTER THAT ENDING
SUCH A CLIFFHANGER
100
GROWTH

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