Review: Hi-Fi Fight Club #2

Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is a fantastic romantic comedy in girl gang vigilante wrapping paper from writer Carly Usdin, artists Nina Vakueva and Irene Flores, and colorist Rebecca Nalty. Chris, Maggie, Kennedy, Dolores, and could be in a band, but they decide to kick injustice’s ass in various ways like stopping an all girl band from being harassed or trying to find Rosie Riot, the missing lead singer from Chris’ favorite band, Stegosaur. Usdin’s script spends some time laying out the origin of the “fight club” and digging into the Rosie Riot mystery (Especially the final few pages). However, for the most part, Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is pure character study with Chris dealing with finding her identity as a teenager, coming to terms with her feelings for her co-worker Maggie, and also being silly and adorable along the way.

On the visual front, Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is the cool sound effects from letterer Jim Campbell and Vakueva montage layouts issues. The comic is cut like a stylish MTV promo from the late 90s, but Nalty mostly uses a soft, suburban palette with the occasional bright background burst like when the girls are sparring. This color choice keeps the comic firmly in slice of life territory although Vakueva and Flores’ action scenes pack a wallop and are easy to follow to boot. Some other interesting visual choices, include Vakueva channeling her inner humorist and making Chris pull some crazy faces any time she interacts or is noticed by Maggie with no angsty narration needed. In contrast, Maggie has the cute, beautiful composure of a character from a shonen manga and later shows she can kick ass just like a Sailor Scout.

Usdin, Vakueva, Flores, and Nalty swing for the fences emotionally in Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 without resorting overused tropes like love triangles and or pointless in-fighting. Sure, Dolores doesn’t want Unlike the softer edges for Maggie, Flores uses a strong, stern inking line for Dolores, and she and Vakueva draw her either working the bag or commenting on how A power packed supporting cast aside, Hi-Fi Fight Club continues to be Chris’ story, and her thoughts and reactions fill the panels and caption boxes. Especially with her induction to the fight club, Vinyl Mayhem has ushered her into a “cool” new world of music, crushes, and action, and it’s a lot to process so she struggles being useful in the search for Rosie Riot.

However, she does grow closer to Maggie, but wonders if Maggie has romantic feelings for her or is just being nice to the new girl. Reading the subtext in facial expressions, pauses, and sometimes dialogue in their interactions (Especially at the diner.) is honestly the most entertaining and riveting part of the comic. Usdin, Vakueva, and Flores nail the rush of young love, especially when Chris goes from not being hungry and sulking to her room to running off to the diner and stuffing her face for cheese fries. It reminds me of this weird tic that I had for a little while in high school when I wouldn’t eat full meals in case a “dating situation” popped up, and I could still be hungry. Yeah, that was pretty much, and Usdin isn’t afraid to write Chris as insecure, vulnerable, and yes, passionate about her music, job, the fight club, and Maggie. An anecdote that she shares with the group about Rosie Riot getting ice cream in her hometown to deal with anxiety shows that she looks up to this woman as a role model and that helping find her is way high on her list of priorities.

In its second installment, Hi-Fi Fight Club plays to its strength as Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, and Rebecca Nalty make their focus on Chris and her potential romance with Maggie the centerpiece of her story to find identity through her music fandom and nascent vigilantism. And the art and colors continue to be a treat with fluid action scenes, riot grrl poses, and plenty of longing glances and general feels whenever Vakueva and Flores draw Chris looking at Maggie.

Story: Carly Usdin Pencils: Nina Vakueva Inks: Irene Flores Colors: Rebecca Nalty
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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