The Can Opener’s Daughter by Rob Davis graphic novel review

Find out what we thought of Rob Davis’ The Can Opener’s Daughter in our review

The British Comic Award-winning and Eisner Award-nominated The Motherless Oven landed in 2014 to great acclaim.

This, then, is the sequel to that surreal and unique dark tale, a world in which parents don’t make children; children make parents. Scarper Lee’s father is wind-powered with a sail, his mother is a Bakelite hair dryer, and Scarper knows his upcoming deathday – only his is in three weeks, and on that adventure he asks, “Who the hell is Vera Pike?”

Vera Pike is the Can Opener’s Daughter, and this is her story. Daughter too of the Weather Clock, the omnipotent, ruthless and megalomaniacal Prime Minister of Chance, Vera is sent to St Sylvia’s School of Bleak Prospects and Suicide, where classmates know little of her true importance. Meanwhile, she hunts for Scarper with his friend Castro Smith, determined to outlive their deathdays, and desperately trying to convince her father that her unhinged mother must be stopped.

Rendered in monochrome, Davis weaves his new tale around the skeleton of the last, picking up on class differences and to modern day politics. There is great detail here, hidden on almost every page that ensures a second read is quite inevitable.

While much of this landscape is set up in the first graphic novel, Davis has ensured the second is easily read as a standalone, no doubt enticing new readers to furrow backwards once hooked on the macabre goings on. He takes the trope of young troubled teenager twice over as they struggle to understand their place in the world, and places those narratives in a world that is upside down and back to front, making for a compelling work that will stay in the reader’s memory.