In Review: Tomboy #1

A highly enjoyable book that holds several mysteries, with the biggest being what has Addison done?

The covers: A pair covers for the first issue of this new series. The Main cover is by series creator Mia Goodwin. This features a terrific close-up of lead character Addison Brody. She’s pulling back a mask from her favorite series, Princess Cherry Cherry, as she brings up an object in her left hand, an eyeball. That hand is covered in blood, showing that she didn’t just find the orb; in fact, there’s a slight dab of crimson fluid on her cheek and near her eye. How could a young girl, especially one surrounded by glowing comic book stars, be involved in such bloodshed? Only by reading this book can that question be answered. The Variant cover is limited to 2000 copies and it’s created by Jennifer Ely. This is a much more haunting piece. Again, Addison is the focus, but her eyes are solid black, blood is on her face and chest, as well as the oar she seems to be carrying. She’s standing before a church during a rainstorm and she looks both solemn and creepy. Both covers are good, but I prefer the first version. Overall grades: Main A and Variant B+

The story: Addison is standing on a building during a rainstorm; her back is to the reader. There’s a body behind her. She has blood on her sneakers. She’s holding half of a heart necklace. Addison narrates how monsters have always seemed to haunt her, but her family would tell her she was safe. ‘Dad never found any monsters under my bed. He was looking in the wrong place.’ Her front is revealed and she’s covered in blood. Her name is spoken by a policewoman that Addison knows. Iris says that Addison is sick and suffering. “And you’re here to put me down, right? Because that’s what you do.” Iris pulls a gun and points it at the blood covered teen. Addison spreads her arms and looks down upon the street. “Every thing I did…it was supposed to be for Nick. At least…I thought it was for Nick.” The story then moves into the past, how far back is not stated, but the setting is the Brody home, where Grandpa is watching the news on the Trent Pharmaceutical’s court case. It’s Addison’s sixteenth birthday and her father Mark has made her breakfast. Father and daughter tease curmudgeon grandpa with the theme song from Princess Cherry Cherry. Their song is halted by Mark’s phone which calls him to work as the city’s medical examiner. When he leaves, Addison picks up her phone to text her friend Nick to find out why he hasn’t come by that morning. Mia Goodwin‘s story is a slow burn, setting up characters and situations, and it’s an enjoyable read. It’s easy to determine what Mark will see before it’s revealed, as is Addison’s reaction when she finds out. What’s not expected is where Mark goes on Page 13 and what he finds, and what Addison overhears on 15 is a stunner. 17 has something happen, but it’s not shown, only the results of it occurring. I really want to know what happened and how Addison got herself into the trouble that the first two pages show. Overall grade: A

The art and colors: After seeing that this was a number one issue, I thumbed through this book to see the art. I was won over by what Mia Goodwin had done, and that’s what convinced me to purchase this. The characters in this book look incredible. Addison looks like the typical high school girl who’s into Anime and her friends. Her posture tells her age instantly, as demonstrated on Pages 3 – 5. In fact, seeing her like this makes her blood splattered look of the first two pages even more dramatic. There are two pages where Addison interacts with her friend Jessica and her feelings are on her sleeve, which makes her a more realistic character. The sunlight shining upon her and Jessica makes the mood so much more upbeat, which naturally comes right before a major complication. Her family home is overflowing with details, from the tables to the yellow wallpaper. Goodwin isn’t just good with teens, her art on the adults is just as impressive, with Grandpa being a terrific character, confined to his chair, parked in front of the television, until the final two pages. His dark eyebrows were a masterful touch! Her father Mark gets the most variety, shown clowning at home and being serious out in the field as he has to look at something. I really like the change up in colors between Pages 5 and 6, which go from warm to cold, make the unfolding events intense. The cool colors continue when Mark and a peer go somewhere: blue is a somber color in this book. That color is also used to great effect on 15 – 18. Only Addison’s blood red coat provides any warmth on these pages. There’s also a three panel flashback that has a major moment in the protagonist’s life and they are colored in pale pink to show they’re in the past, but also to emphasize the emotion of the moment. Goodwin is an amazing talent and I’m in for the long haul of this book for as long as she wants to do it. Overall grade: A+

The letters: There’s no letterer credited within this book, in fact, outside of the covers, there are no credits at all, so I’m assuming that Mia Goodwin also did the lettering. Narration, dialogue, a television broadcast, a whisper, a song, a yell, phone texts, and a tiny character’s pleas comprise the book’s text. All are easily read, but I was disappointed to see that the shape of the dialogue balloon and color were employed to show the differentiation in text, rather than the use of a different font. This was fine, but the reading experience is always much more enjoyable if the text is varied, such as among dialogue and television broadcasts. A different font is used for singing and the phone texts, but there should have been more variety. Overall grade: B-

The final line: A highly enjoyable book that holds several mysteries, with the biggest being what has Addison done? This is definitely being added to my monthly pull list. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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