Review: ‘The Avant-Guards’ #1
The Avant-Guards #1
Written by Carly Usdin, illustrated by Noah Hayes
Boom! Studios, $3.99
Following the path of the other Boom! teen group sports comics, which include Fence and Dodge City, The Avant-Guards is about a determined group of women starting a basketball team at an all-female drama school.
There’s a lot here to appreciate, whether it’s sharing the feeling of new transfer student Charlie, who has trouble finding where she fits in, or the humor of the various character types. Liv is the over-enthusiastic go-getter trying to introduce sports to the college, and if Charlie joins, that will give her enough players to get started.
Meanwhile, Charlie’s got some kind of past with the sport that is sure to be revealed over the series’ twelve issues. She plays, but she doesn’t like the team aspect any more.
Writer Usdin knows her girl groups, as her previous short series was Heavy Vinyl, about record shop workers who were also a fight squad. Artistically, Hayes does a great job with the various attitudes, body types, action, and personalities, creating a smooth read with a focus on character.
While this is an introduction and mostly consists of setup, there’s the promise of getting to know the various team members better and seeing how and why Charlie gets over her dislike of being part of a group. Readers can appreciate sympathizing with Charlie’s loner attitude or Liv’s determination to get the sports team she wants.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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