By Sam King
Dodge City #2 dives deeper into exposition waters. We get a little more dodgeball playing and a lot more focus on team drama. We find out what the girl meant in the last issue when she referred to the Jazz Pandas as cheaters. It elaborates on plot points presented in issue #1, but slows down the pace a bit, by comparison, edging more toward character development. The story set up has been good thus far, and I’m waiting to see when things will come to a head.
So last issue, Tomas became the captain of the Jazz Pandas dodgeball team despite being an absolute noob, and a girl on the team they played against said the Jazz Pandas were known as cheaters. In this issue, we find out why. The team holds practice, and we get to see some character drama. For starters, Drew (the former team captain) and Elise are getting hot and heavy, and show up late for practice. However, with some conversation, we can infer that Drew doesn’t plan to stick around much longer and she doesn’t seem to have included Elise in any of her major decision making. She struggles to say that she is just focusing on what’s best for her, which may not mean a whole lot of good for Elise in the long run. Elise seems to have put more stake into their relationship than Drew has.
Tomas is trying to be a good leader and get everyone to put in time and effort. Amardeep, their best player, is not at practice, because he has familial problems, involving his grandmother’s health. Huck, another player on the team who happens to be deaf, seems to have some emotional reaction to the sudden appearance of Judith’s brother, Chase. Huck’s emotional distress is not explored any further this issue. Chase arrives and gets the expositional flashback boulder rolling. We find out who it was that cheated, how, and what the consequences were. The main reason why the team ended up the mess pile that it is right now. Tomas challenges Chase to a dodgeball match. If Tomas wins, Chase is back on the team, and if Chase wins, the cheater gets kicked off.
This issue is very character centric. There is a ton of drama. Some of it that was presented last time is getting wrapped up, while new drama is being set up for handling in the near future. The art is really cartoony at times and the expressions of the characters don’t always hit the mark for me, but the story isn’t bad. I can honestly say that I personally have not read a comic like this, although it is slightly reminiscent of sporty manga that I’ve seen in passing. The characters are diverse and they really seem like a rag tag group of misfits right now. Tomas is really trying his best to do right by his new team, but I’m getting the feeling that all the crevices filling with personal drama are going to lead into an emotional flood at some point.
If slice of life style comics with an unconventional sporty twist added in sounds like your idea of a good time, I think this series is worth checking out at this point. It is supposed to be a 6-issue story, so hopefully we get some more dodgeball action and things heat up more in the next issue. That will be the halfway mark and I really want all this set up to start moving into action. It seems we have all the basic components for things to start hitting fans. This is a solid issue and the series is definitely something different, but so far it doesn’t have anything that feels revolutionizing or makes it an absolute MUST read. It is a good time though.
Dodge City #2