Black Mask Studios 2016
Created & Written by Katy Rex
Created & Illustrated by Fabian Lelay
Coloured by Mara Jayne Carpenter
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
In this new series that mashes The Breakfast Club with Sailor Moon, Kai, Saba, Noemi, Divya, and Emma are (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected.
I love reading the first issue of a new series. I come into these blind, meaning I don’t read previews or advance solicitations so I can be completely surprised. This has also shaped my review style as I want you to understand how the writing is, the interior artwork and how the book makes me feel in hopes you’ll get excited over trying it. Anyone can do a play by play but I don’t want you to read this and feel like you don’t need to read the book but rather want to read it. This is one of those that I sincerely hope you try because it’s just incredibly fun, unique and centers around an all female cast of characters.
I like the opening, it’s told from one character's point of view as she “assess” her schoolmates This way we get a look at how they are possibly seen by each other which when in high school sometimes view can be skewed but for the girl starting this off i’d say she’s pretty accurate as Katy portrays them throughout the story. It’s a nice way to introduce them without having to spend too much time on background information.
Speaking of we don’t get a lot of background information on the world they live in but that’s great! It means we get to explore this reality as the girls go about their lives. Also it means the reader has use to their brain and imagination to create their own possible scenarios and see what matches up. Nothing is better than a book that engages the mind as it entertains and Katy’s got that down pat.
Fabian’s interiors are quite unique, they remind of different things, mainly cartoons, but have a style all their own. My one complaint is he doesn’t utilize panels with backgrounds which can be used to really showcase the bigger picture, engage the reader and set the mood, tone and feel for what’s going on where they are. Otherwise his use of pages and panels to the tell the flow of the story is nicely done. Also on a personal note I’d love to see the girls “powered” up in a different style to separate the two, one more cleaner comic style compared to everyday life but that’s just me and possibly a suggestion.
As the book is billed it really does take a diverse cast who aren’t friends, throw them in detention and have something of a Nancy Drew/Charlie’s Angels moment that will change how their lives. Suddenly these wonderful characters who are so different from one another and come from a diverse set of backgrounds find themselves wrapped up in something they could never have prepared for. This is the kind of writing and characterization that makes a book not good but great. There’s hope, promise and a brand new world to explore and it’s got all the potential that holds and then some.