Review: Hi-Fi Fight Club #1

Carly Usdin pens a cheeky and interesting tale of a group of teenage female employees working in a record store with Hi-Fi Fight Club. The premiere issue sets up a story that serves up some serious Empire Records vibes. On its surface the story seems to be leading up to a teen movie style love story romp in a record store but, by the end of the introductory issue you discover that there’s more to there’s way more to the story. Usdin’ writing is complemented by an almost all female art team, the only male on the crew is the letterer which lends to an interesting female gaze.

Nina Vakueva penciling brings Usdin’s characters to life, there is a uniformity in the facial features and body types of the female characters in the issue and while the lead characters are well designed they’re somewhat interchangeable. Irene Flores ink work is sharp and Rebecca Nalty serves up some pretty pastels and punk colors making the story pop. Nalty gets bonus points for not making the resident goth look like a cliche.

I was hella excited when I read about the premise and became even more excited when I discovered the comic had an 80% female team. I’m happy to report the issue is pretty darn solid and I’m hoping that the few issues that I had with the first issue will be fixed in future ones. The writing is pretty solid, the premise is interesting and the comic world could use all the strong , bad ass female characters that it can get. Hi Fi adds a teen and superpowerless twist to things which is refreshing, it’s like it D.E.B.S. and Empire Records had a baby. The team of teen crime fighters/avenging Angels that Usdin created, is headquartered in the basement of the record store where all the girls work, is headed by a female team leader.

There’s loads to love about this new series but, I also found a couple of flaws. All of the female characters introductions are reduced to micro sentence descriptors one characters description left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The character Maggie’s descriptions is “Literally, the cutest” . While the other characters are a bit cliched and one noted, this one reduced a female character to a physical descriptor as if there was nothing else noteworthy about her. I realize that in the context of the narrator being a teenage girl with a crush on Maggie there would be some notice of her looks but, I’m sad that it came in the form of reducing her down to her physical features. I was more than a little disenchanted that the creative team was comprised of mostly women. I was also a bit put off by the lack of facial ethnic differences which, meant that the only person of color a lead had white woman dipped in chocolate syndrome. I know that there is more than one way that a person of color can look but, to have her look identical to every other character in the series rubbed me the wrong way especially when the artist gave the character braids. I also, wasn’t a fan of the fact that all of the women had the same body type to go along with their “perfect” faces. I had hoped that the artists would have taken the opportunity to give the characters their own unique looks and styles to showcase the myriad of looks that a woman can have.

Overall, I like the premise and I can see this comic going places. I just hope that they try to showcase more shapes, colors and sizes in the art work and that the story focuses on making the characters people who are more complex than microsentence descriptors. I look forward to seeing where the ladies go as they delve into their first case together with their newest addition Chris. The comic world needs a secret teen girl vigilante fight club and I hope that this evolves into the greatness implied in the issues final pages.

Story: Carly Usdin Art: Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, Rebecca Nalty
Story: 8.2 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

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