CREATIVE TEAM: C.S. Pacat (Dark Rise), Johanna the Mad (Wynd), Joana LaFuente, and Jim Campbell
Welcome to an all-new edition of Parlay Points, the comic book review blog to the ODPH Podcast!
For this entry, we’re checking out the debut issue of the next chapter stemming out from a GLAAD Media Award-nominated sports comic under the Boom! Box imprint of Boom! Studios. FENCE: REDEMPTION #1 by C.S. Pacat (Dark Rise), Johanna the Mad (Wynd), Joana LaFuente, and Jim Campbell re-introduces readers to the world of Halverton and the players involved in becoming the elite in fencing. Let’s take a closer look at see what’s unfolding here, shall we?
*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING ***
The story begins with the fencers of Kings Row now set-up at Haverton, deep into training. Their coaches are observing and critiquing their technique. There is a noticeable difference in commitment from the team members. With the state championships looming, this is one of the last times the team can prepare for the event. The pressure is mounting and it can be seen on their faces. One player feeling this especially is Nicholas, who is determined to land a “flick’.
Nicholas may not be the strongest skill-wise amongst the fencers but has arguably the biggest upside. This is a vast contraction to Seiji, who comes off un-phased by what’s around him. However, others think he’s still not over a match with with a rival, who is considered the best of the best. The team captain, Harvard, doesn’t seem to phased by what’s coming but the coaches are concerned with his time management.
The Pressure mounts…
Making matters worse, Aiden is late and doesn’t seem to be that committed to the team. This brings up more frustration which Aiden plays off, explaining how Harvard and him have known each other long enough to know what expectations should be.
Once everyone arrives to the training, the coaches drop a bombshell on the group. The group from Exton is coming to observe the training. This causes a reaction out of Seiji, because he knows Jesse is coming with them and there’s a history between the both.
How will the team fare with Exton swinging through? Can Nicholas improve in time to make an impact? How will Harvard step up to the challenge? Can Seiji confront the ghosts from his past?
Readers will get some answers as there is more to this match than anyone realizes. The final page will set the pace for the rest of the series as a challenge is thrown down that will either make them into stars or break them in the process
Pacat sets in motion a high-stakes challenge some team members might falter trying to hit their marks. This issue focuses heavily on Nicholas’s training as he pushes himself to become more.
Readers see how he is trying to hone his skills for the bigger challenges and gives the sense that he, not Seiji, will be the one having to face off against their biggest rival at the end.
The other key members of the team (Aiden, Harvard and Seiji) get time to give new readers a sense of their stories but not enough to get the full picture. The main takeaway is not everyone is ready for what’s coming. there is a distinct change when the team from Exton arrives. It closes events out with a solid ending leading into what will be the driving plot of the series.
Johanna The Mad and LaFuente bring a energetic view to the drama surrounding this tale. Nicholas’s drive is well-illustrated through his facial expressions in this issue. Readers can easily connect with what he’s trying to accomplish and get a small payoff near the closing act.
There is a great sequence where Bobby asks one of the Coaches about a technique breakdown. The art team displays this as a solid guide to readers not well-versed in the sport of fencing. The closing moments display the tension built with Seiji plus the reveal of what looks to be an underlying plot developing into next issue.
FINAL POINT: 8 out of 10
Readers are welcomed back to the drama and emotions that can only be found with the team from King’s Row. Pacat, Johanna The Mad and company kick off this latest chapter with an enjoyable read, while firmly planting the foundation for a bigger story waiting to be fully unveiled. Check this book out on New Comic Book Day.
Hit me up on ODPH social media and let me know what you thought of Fence: Redemption #1. Thanks for reading.