Bottled, by Chris Gooch, (IDW’s Top Shelf) is a big read.

Bottled is an urban drama about several characters, but mostly Jane, who is struggling. She is living at home with bickering parents who are verging on divorce. Natalie, one of her friends, has become fabulously successful overseas and has returned to town to visit. Jane is jealous and resentful of Natalie’s success and despises Natalie’s self-absorption. So, Jane plots revenge, with the help of her long-suffering boyfriend. What follows is not for the tender-hearted.

This is a fascinating tale of modern alienation. Written and illustrated (2 colour printing) by Chris Gooch, it starts off like a typical zine indie story, (my life is hell, and here’s why…) until it starts getting deeper, darker, and more dangerous.

‘Bottled’ explores emotions and relationships at a surprisingly complex level for a first-time graphic novelist, and Gooch (age 24, from Melbourne Australia) deserves credit for keeping all the balls in the air for the duration of this big (292 pages) publication.

In the minor criticisms department, I found a few of the pages unnecessary, where perhaps Gooch was searching for a cinematic sequence to add suspense. But it’s a simple matter to skim past them, or just slow down and see his modern drama unfold, panel by panel.

This is a very strong book and is worth a look.

292 pages, Softcover trade, IDW, Adult content, $19.99

By Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!