Black Mask Studios 2016
Created & Written by Katy Rex & Fabian Lelay
Illustrated by Fabian Lelay
Coloured by Mara Jayne Carpenter
Flats by Elizabeth Kramer
Lettered by Taylor Esposito
Just as the girls are targeted by the Friendly Neighborhood Organized Crime Group, Kai and Noemi are confronted with the drama of romance and jealousy -- because love doesn't just hit pause when bigger things are happening.
While the girls try to adjust to life outside the school they are at a distinct disadvantage. Teenagers are or can be headstrong and determined but don’t always use the best judgment and we are seeing that demonstrated here rather nicely. On the flip side the bad guys are well organised and are quite familiar with how things on the outside work. So that while the two are new to one another and there will a growing period as each one susses out the other it’s the girls who are in far more danger.
I like the way the story is being set up and told. The structuring of it is impressive and the pacing is enjoyable. We get good looks at both sides here so we can foresee and upcoming conflict that will have to explode at some point but until then it’s all about the setup. The characters all have such great, strong characterisation and it’s easy to see where they fall within the story and within their own groups.
The interiors are great they have a wonderful all-ages appeal to them while still being able to express either their innocence, frustration or anger. That we get such a wide variety of emotions from the faces, facial expressions and body language here is superbly done. The use of page layouts through angles, perspective and the backgrounds in play help tell the story more fully. Also I really do appreciate they can be dressed in clothes that identify them and yet aren’t what i’d consider trendy, showing way too much skin. This way they can be seen as complex and powerful characters without resorting to some sort of stereotype.
The girls themselves represent so much and have diverse personalities that it’s near impossible to feel the infectious nature of the story. I am very much enjoying the fact that they really want to help Magpie so much and yet have so much yet to still learn about the world they have found themselves in. the learning curve here is much greater than they’ve anticipated and they are slowly recognising that. Add in new and unexpected friendships, feelings and romance and well it’s truly a well rounded story.
We need more books like this that represent a wider variety of kids today that are headstrong and willing but totally unprepared. It’s more realistic that they act without thinking and are stumbling through with the best of intentions.