Comic Review: The Lab: Allison Conway & the Art of Silence

Painstakingly and evocatively rendered, Allison Conway’s debut graphic novel explores the spectrum between lifeless gray and vivid color. It asks uncomfortable questions about the treatment we tolerate and the injustices underlying our modern world.



Allison Conway brings an incredible comic to the hands of supporters in the form of The Lab. This hauntingly beautiful piece of art is a completely wordless book that still manages to deliver a kick right to the gut with its incredible pace and storytelling that rests entirely on the merits of the panels. 



The story is simple enough to follow, the reader gets to witness the incredibly callous life of a nameless protagonist as they experience their life within a cold, laboratory environment where they are subjected to a variety of experiments. While this type of story should require complex explanations, the lack of dialogue within the story makes the gravitas of each panel that much more important. 



There is emotion within each inch of the masterful canvas presented to the reader. Each incision can be felt, each scar can be touched, and each painful moment can be shared between the reader and the protagonist. There is a lot of emotion, which is hard to convey in this type of medium that makes the reader hate whatever cold-heartless institution could do such things to this nameless character. 



But the inherent strength in this book is unfortunately its weakest point. This in an incredibly niche book that at first glance would turn off a lot of readers. I myself had to force myself to look at it, but once I did I was immediately sold in the simplistic yet gorgeous art form and story. There are few stories that can portray such complex subject matter and even less that can do so in such a wordless way. 


If you are a fan of story driven works, this is definitely the book for you to pick up. The subject matter is very powerful, and can tug at the heartstrings with an incredible precision that can be surprising. The art is perfect for this story, providing a variety of fluid emotions that the readers can identify with in more ways than words could deliver. 



Check out Allison’s other projects on her website Allistrations for her other works. Her Kickstarter for Bare Bones, her most recent project, was successfully completed, but Conway’s talents deserve to be showcased in the bigger crowdfunding platforms. I can’t wait to see more of her work.  Order a copy of The Lab here on Amazon and check out her other available work!

Michael Gutierrez

I review comics and other pop culture on their own merit. Follow me on Twitter @Call2Mike. Please contact Bleeding Fool if you are a creator and are interested in having me review your work.