Rating: 4/5 – Slice of Life Intro with a Big Payoff on Last Page
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The last page “reveal” is given away in the solicitation and every interview for this new series but that doesn’t lessen the fun of taking the ride from page 1 to 22. Heck, it’s given away in the title of the series. Vinyl Mayhem, the New Jersey record store that serves as the main setting for the series is a front for a teen girl fight club….but with a twist that moves it away from merely mindless mayhem.
If you’re only into action/adventure comics with costumed characters whooping the tar out of one another, this is probably not going to be your cup of tea (I can hear someone on the internet decreeing that this is “boring”). I beg to differ. If you’re like mean and you are enthralled by well written characters, crisp dialogue, and personal interactions that feel like you’re standing just to the side out of sight watching them unfold in real life, then this should be your jam.
This is film & TV director Carly Usdin’s first foray into comics and she does a great job. The setting is New Jersey in 1998; since Usdin grew up in Jersey in the 90s she is seemingly following the credo of “write what you know”. It felt genuine to me and has that one key that will always get me to come back for a second issue: I immediately took a liking to these characters. From the lead (tomboy Chris) to the rest of the staff at Vinyl Mayhem and the store manager Irene. The art by Nina Vakueva on pencils and Irene Flores on inks supported the story nicely. The character design, clothes, body language, and facial expressions kept the story interesting, even with it mostly being people talking in various locations. While they skipped background detail in a lot of panels they included enough where needed to give the story a definite feeling of “place”. It never felt generic to me, it captured the essence of the settings.
Hi-Fi Fight Club stands out for me as unique among the 140+ comics I read each month. There’s nothing else like it on the stands and that in and of itself is enough to get me to come back for more. Add in the crisp art and dialogue, captivating characters, and the touch of mystery with a real possibility for a unique take on how that mystery will be investigated and solved and I was sold. I’ll definitely be back for more!
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
https://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics