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Review: Sci-Fu

Hip-Hop, Sci-Fi and Kung Fu all hit the turn-tables for the mash-up mix of the year! Cartoonist/force of nature Yehudi Mercado sets his sights on 1980s Brooklyn and Wax, a young mix-master who scratches the perfect beat and accidentally summons a UFO that transports his family, best friend, and current crush to the robot-dominated planet of Discopia. Now Wax and his crew must master the intergalactic musical martial art of Sci-Fu to fight the power and save Earth. Word to your mother.

I grew up in the 1980s and love early rap. It regularly is found on any playlists I make. So take my love of early rap and scratching and mix it with my love of kung fu films and it really shouldn’t be a surprise as to how much I enjoyed this graphic novel.

Sci-Fu isn’t really groundbreaking material but what it does it takes a lot of fun elements, mashes them together, and creates a unique experience that’s entertaining. The structure of the graphic novel is reminiscent of video games in that there’s boss battles and “levels” in between. It completely works, especially when Mercado breaks that structure later on with a twist that’s unexpected.

The story focuses mainly on Wax but also his friends and family that are pulled in the strange dimension with him. While he trains, they attempt to have a semi-normal life both going to school and also working their ice-cream truck. It’s all weird. But a fun weird.

A lot of the comic is done in rap verses an element that really works and isn’t overused. Primarily in battles, the rhymes have that throwback style to the 80s, so those who only know rap from the 90s on might find the flow and content a little off. But, it was a different time (one I prefer).

Mercado is a talented comic creator and here he mixes his unique artistic style with a story that feels like a perfect mix together, like a solid ice cream flavor you weren’t expecting (read the comic, the metaphor works). The character designs are awesome and feature his signature but it’s how out there the world and villains are that are the real fun. The battles feel like video games, the characters are creative, the coloring pops. There’s a graffiti element to it all that beyond works. It’s also an art style (and a story) that feels like kids will love.

Reading this, you can tell Mercado is having fun with this creation. There’s lots of twists and turns and I’m not going to ruin it all. There’s a lot here I want explored more, I want to see another volume. There’s some elements that could have been fleshed out more but overall, this is an entertaining debut. I’d say it’s unexpected but Mercado is a talent where you expect something as good as this.

Story: Yehudi Mercado Art: Yehudi Mercado
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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