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Inferno Girl Red Review – ‘One of the most anticipated books of 2023’

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Welcome to an all-new edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH podcast (making its’ way to the land of the Nerd Initiative for this special occasion)!

For this entry: One of the most anticipated books of 2023 is finally set to land in the comic shops on January 25! Ever since making her Image Comics debut in the pages of 2022’s SUPERMASSIVE one-shot event which kicked off the genesis of comics’ most exciting universe: The Massive-Verse (with its’ flagship book RADIANT BLACK), fans have been eagerly waiting for the solo adventures of Cássia Costa to begin.

Rogue Sun and The Dead Lucky were the first books following this epic event but one character has been long awaited to follow in those footsteps outside of its’ Kickstarter campaign.

INFERNO GIRL RED: BOOK #1 by MAT GROOM (Power Rangers, Ultraman), ERICA D’URSO (The Mighty Valkyries), IGOR MONTI & BECCA CAREY kicks off the story of Cássia and her emergence as a beacon of hope when her home of Apex City is in its’ darkest hour. If you have heard the reaction from fans who signed up for the Kickstarter, you know the buzz for this book has been tremendous. Fans, get ready for something special with this one!  Let us not wait another second and see what the hype is all about, shall we?

*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***

The story kicks off with Cássia Costa heading to the Helix Campus, a prestigious high school in Apex City with her mother. Driving along, Cássia questions her mother’s story about being on a monorail. She mentions how she was there meeting a source for a story about museum artifacts. Suddenly, they were attacked by a frightening creature. Luckily, a figure bursts through the train car for the save. That figure is…. INFERNO GIRL RED! readers get treated to a great action sequence with foreshadowing into a greater threat looming.

During the car ride, Cassia’s mother gets a phone call about a reporting job but is turned down due to her IGR stories being considered untrue. This worries Cassia as she arrives at the campus. her mother reassures her she will be fine and to take full advantage of this opportunity. That said, Cassia makes her way into a class, where she meets her future roommate Harriette and Doctor Janine Caro, a famous engineer, physicist and owner of the campus. With a brief class discussion and syllabus of expectations, Cassia settles in to school life with a trip to the library.

Along this trip, an unexpected event happens: Apex City is removed from its’ foundation?! A cloaked figure stands in amusement watching the move unfold as it appears the staff wielded is the catalyst. Cassia watches from inside the library as a red object meteors into her path and attaches an armband to her. From this moment on, her life will never be the same.

What direction does Cassia’s life go now? What is the grave situation unfolding? While catching up with her mother, Cassia knows what she is going to have to do. The question now becomes: Is she ready for her destiny? Readers sit ringside as a new hero rises to the challenge while questioning this new direction with a perfect final panel to close events off with.

Groom plays heavy into the themes of hope versus hopeless with this debut. Cassia comes across as a character still trying to find her way while picking up a responsibility she doesn’t think or want to handle. Yet, readers witness how she rises to the challenge at hand because of the confidence instilled in her by her mother. Their dynamic is the backbone of this series as Cassia tries improving their situation by the opportunity given at the school. Her mother puts her setbacks aside to build Cassia up which instantly connects with readers about how important their bond is.

The pacing works well to allow the major players of this story to establish themselves early. Dr. Caro and Harriette provide a solid balance for Cassia from the heroic world she’s about to embark in. The action sequences move fast but don’t overtake Cassia’s trail by fire in her new persona. Seeing the original IGR in action gave readers enough to form an idea of what to expect with the powers that there was not a huge need to have Cassia re-tell it through her eyes. This issue had action, drama and intrigue, a winning formula to hook readers in for the long haul.

D’urso’s art meshes up perfectly with the writing of the story. The world of Apex City feels vibrant and full of possibilities right from the two page panel when Cassia and her mom are driving into the city. The campus had a distinct vibe going on as well. It never felt like “just another school”. The bonding moments between Cassia and her mom also jump off the panels as seeing how supportive they are of each other is such a driving plot point. With all the world building going on, nothing takes away from the moment readers see Cassia in full IGR costume.

There is no way the full-page panel isn’t made into a poster as it drops a clear exclamation point that a hero has arrived! The action panels move swiftly and readers can sense the tension unfolding as both IGR’s showcase their powers in various manners. Excellent final image to close this chapter out of, leaving much possibilities for where the story goes from here.

FINAL POINT: Th hype is real! The latest edition into the Massive-verse (officially) plants their foundation for a must-have story of hope versus darkness. Groom, D’Urso and the team deliver excellent writing and eye-catching art to solidify the next big hero in comics is ready to light up the local comic shops for NCBD!

Let me know what you thought of Inferno Girl Red: Book One #1 on ODPH podcast social media. Also, if you want to see more Parlay Points reviews on the NI site, make it known! Thanks to the team at the Nerd Initiative for allowing the post!

Thanks for reading!

All photos credit: Image Comics

INFERNO GIRL RED: BOOK ONE #1 Creative: MAT GROOM, ERICA D’URSO, IGOR MONTI & BECCA CAREY

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