The fight club part of the new Boom Box! series “Hi-Fi Fight Club” only came into play in the very last pages of the first issue, but now we get to see more of it as the mystery of the missing singer deepends. Read on for a review of an issue full of fist-fights, 90’s fashion and awkward teenage dating anxieties. (There are some minor spoilers.)
Written by Carly Usdin
Pencilled by Nina Vakueva
Inked by Irene Flores
Coloured by Rebecca Nalty
Lettered by Jim Campbell
With Rory in danger and Chris finally in on the crew’s off-hour activities, they need a plan to get to her in time… and they find it in the most unexpected place!
Having finally introduced the fight club, the story moves on pretty straight-forward and at a good pace. After my review colleague here at Multiversity told me I was going to love this series and another one expressed their disappointment at not getting to be the one reviewing it, my expectations were high. This issue met them, and it met them with style.
Penciller Nina Vakueva, inker Irene Flores, and colourist Rebecca Nalty have created a peppy and friendly look with a lot of attention to character design. Some manga influence can be seen in main character Chris’s exaggerated facial expressions and also Jim Campbell’s sound effects for actions that don’t make any noise in reality, like nodding. When Chris cries, her tears are huge and fly off her face. There are also emotional moments where there is a silent, more calm and realistic panel being used. There are a lot of close-up shots used, so more variety in the shots would be nice to see. The colouring is bright and fresh. In addition the the manga influence, many things in the issue’s look can remind you of other Boom! Studios series, but it also stands out from them in a positive way. The same goes for the plot and characters.
Chris is an anxious chatterbox who easily gets you on her side even if her actions might give you slight second-hand embarrassment. Dolores the goth girl is hesitant to welcome her to the fight club, but Chris’s crush, Maggie, is much more welcoming and thinks she could help them to find the missing lead singer of Stegosour. This issue gives some explanation for Dolores’s resentment of Chris and deepens Maggie’s character too, while Kennedy and Irene the boss don’t get that much development yet and remain as more one-note characters. At this point it’s becoming quite clear that theres going to be something between Chris and Maggie but Chris herself is so nervous and unsure about whether their meeting was a date or not that it keeps up the tension.
“Hi-Fi Fight Club” manages to amazingly capture feelings most of us probably feel in our adolescence but can’t put to words, like just how much the things that are important to you at that age shape you, but at the same time your interests fluctuate a lot and you don’t what of it is going to stick, what is your thing. Much more subtle and also much more powerful than the “Oh no! I didn’t do my homework on time!” type of relatability many series that star adolescents offer. These feelings come across best in the scene where Maggie tells about how much the fight club means to her and Chris wishes she also had something special that would give her a sense of identity. But your identity isn’t something permanent that just gets handed to you when you start a certain job or hobby, even if it means the world to you at that moment. Even the “cool kids” who have their own style are most likely doubtful messes inside. Chris doesn’t realize this yet and almost idolizes the other girls working at the record store for seeming so collected and awesome. Writer Carly Usdin conveys Chris’s problem to the readers by showing us every anxious moment of self-doubt Chris has (and she has a lot of them) and not letting us in the other character’s heads.
The heart-warming hopes of romance, funny moments, relatable themes and girl power would be enough to make “Hi-Fi Fight Club” #2 a fun comic, but not only do Usdin, Vakueva and the rest of the team deliver those things, they deliver them in excellent quality. There is not a trace of rush or neglect to detail in the artwork and the writing gives a fresh twist to many classic teen tropes. So regardless if you are a teenager, remember what it was like to be a teenager, or have happily repressed any memories about what it was like, this is a comic worth your time.Continued below
Final Verdict: 8.9 -The mystery-solving girl group comic taken to the next level.