LITTLE APPLE
LITTLE APPLE by Riley S. Wilson and Steven A. Lowe
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
LITTLE APPLE is a unique, fun comic (and podcast and web series!) from Riley S. Wilson following Apple, a brilliant nine-year-old black girl with a superpower. Read this for a solid glimpse at some Black Girl Magic.
90 %
An Apple a Day
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LITTLE APPLE is not just your average nine-year-old girl. She’s strong, smart, opinionated, and brilliant, with a keen eye for… everything. She also, you know, has superpowers. Apple is an awesome black girl in Harlem, just trying to live her life while fighting racism, gentrification, white supremacy, and maybe some thievery, all at the same time.

Apple’s story, written by Riley S. Wilson and illustrated by Steven A. Lowe, begins at home. We see her interact with her mother in much the same way any kid would, except for one big thing. Apple is probably the most woke nine-year-old I’ve ever seen. And I am absolutely here for it. She’s got a big heart and an open mind and a whole lot of good opinions. We see her move through her school day and we walk away with a couple of things. One, this girl is brilliant, and two, she’s got some sort of something extra special about her.

LITTLE APPLE

LITTLE APPLE and Her Secret Power

Apple has a secret power. We don’t get a ton of information about it in this issue, but I am so curious about it. Whenever she puts someone in their place, like the couple in the elevator or the other kids (or her teacher) in her class, her eyes have a curious purple glow to them. By the end of the issue, we get a little further into it, but not too much. It’s a thread that makes me wish I had the second issue already.

While I do have a lot of questions about her superpower, I don’t really have any about Apple. Of course, I want to know more about her, but I don’t have to question where she stands or what her personality is like. Her character is just so strong from the get-go; she’s very well-crafted. Some of the others around her seem to be a little cookie-cutter, though that seems to be the intention. Apple’s interactions with the other characters speak for them. The way they respond to her personality is enough for readers to get a basic understanding of them.

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The Beginning of Something Great

This issue is, of course, an introductory issue. So there’s a lot of set-up going on throughout, with introductions to characters and settings and the like. Even though there’s a good bit of world-building going on, exposition doesn’t bog the story down at all. The pacing is strong, leaving readers wanting to get even deeper into the world. The story is based in present-day Harlem, but there’s something magical, too (and I mean more than just the #blackgirlmagic going on). What else might be different about this Harlem? What are the rules of this superpower that Apple has, and how does it work? This issue sets up a ton of questions that propel the reader forward.

LITTLE APPLE
LITTLE APPLE page 3; image courtesy of Riley S. Wilson.

Though it does feel a little short, the comic covers a lot of ground in its 20 or so pages of story. Apple interacts with several different groups of people, each leaving off with a different kind of cliffhanger. These interactions keep the issue moving quickly and seamlessly from one scene to the next.

The Art of LITTLE APPLE’s Harlem

Steven A. Lowe’s panel structure of LITTLE APPLE also keeps the pace of this issue up. Many of the pages contain dynamic panels, keeping the reader’s eye bouncing across the page. This is especially true in Apple’s classroom, where the art is anything but boring — even if the lecture is. This is also the first time we get a true glimpse into Apple’s superpower, which is totally awesome. Notably, it’s the only splash page in the entire comic, grabbing the reader’s whole attention. It’s such a great and satisfying payoff.

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Throughout the rest of the issue, the panels are like puzzle pieces fit together. They twist and turn around each other, overlapping one another, rarely sitting static. It’s a wonderful use of the space on the pages and gives Lowe’s art some extra power behind it.

Final Thoughts

LITTLE APPLE was an absolute joy to read. I am so curious as to what Apple will accomplish with her superpower, how it works, and what evils she’s going to take down with it. I can’t wait to see more of this magic, and of her! I am rooting for her SO HARD. This issue left me with so many questions; all questions that make me want to keep going. I can’t wait to see what kind of power Wilson and Lowe bestow upon this awesome little black girl, and how she’s going to take over the world.

LITTLE APPLE is currently doing pre-sales and can be pre-ordered here!

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