Fence: Rise (Volume 5) | Review
Fence: Rise (Volume 5)
written by C.S Pacat; art by Johanna the Mad
Boom! Box, $14.99
Ages 14 and up
The boys’ fencing school series continues with a new original volume, and I’m so glad to see it’s still going.
The fiercely competitive Seiji is finding himself more open to his first friendship with his roommate, the scrappy, garrulous Nicholas. In this volume, the team goes to a training camp, where their members face off against several other schools and fencers, revealing more about their history and motivations.
Pacat does a wonderful job keeping the ongoing character development going throughout the series while still making this volume satisfying on its own. (Although I’m eager to see more, as always.) Johanna’s art marvelously blends the action, the comedy (with exaggerated reactions), and the emotion among the wide variety of cast members. In a story with a bunch of guys who all dress alike, it takes skill to differentiate them quickly and so well. (You can see examples in the preview we posted.)
There’s information about fencing techniques (particularly attacking with the flick!) and competitive strategies, plus plenty of soap opera, with growing relationships, family history, and determined rivalries.
This reminds me, in all the best ways, of a sports manga, blending competition and friendship and all these various characters living together at school, learning about themselves and growing up.
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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