Review: Fence #1

Novelist C.S. Pacat and artist Johanna the Mad team up for a new series Fence! Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row. A chance at a real team and a place to belong awaits him-if he can make the cut!

I’ve never fenced before in my life. But, the idea of it to me is really cool and I’ve seen some videos here and there. I can’t say I’ve ever really sat down to watch a full match, just seen bits here and there. Still, it looks cool. So, the concept of a comic about fencing, intrigued me going into it. And when I got to the end of the comic I wanted to go give fencing a shot myself.

Pacat’s story is fantastic and while there’s some solid tension set up about the world of fencing it’s the individual characters that makes the series jump out. What Pacat does is give us the set up for what’s to come and delivers a solid story for both the main character Nicholas Cox and what seems to be his rival Seiji Katayama. We get just enough to understand where each is coming from and plainly see the collision that’s coming.

The comic is a bit of a downer too. While I’m not going to spoil it, things didn’t go as I expected and for that, it’s a much stronger story. But, why that direction is taken isn’t clear until the end when we get a better sense of where things are going.

The art is solid work with each character having a distinct look to them all and a great flow of the action being presented. Particularly the ability to create emotion even with the characters in their gear for the match is impressive. Without seeing faces, we can still tell what’s going on.

The series is a solid one reminding me of the sports focused manga I’ve been getting in to. It’s a great debut and one that was unexpected in how much I enjoyed it all. A definite get and a comic that’s going towards the top of my read pile going forward. It delivers action, emotional ups and downs, and surprising depth in its characters all in one issue.

Story: C.S. Pacat Art: Johanna the Mad
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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