“Her fate is up to us, and his fate is up to her.”
The first thing that drew me to this comic was the title. Catchy and to the point. What really caught my attention was the premise. Fight Like a Girl follows Amarosa as she attempts to complete nine trials in order to save her dying brother. Throughout her trials, Amarosa wrestles with whether risking her life is worth the consequences, even if the reward is her brother’s life. Along the way, Amarosa must learn to face some truths about herself, and “learn to be” herself above everything else.
I was pumped to read this, and I felt the story was certainly what I hoped for and what I expected; it didn’t exceed expectations, but that’s okay. It was still really enjoyable and I’d recommend it. There are a lot of good one-liners and Amarosa is a well-rounded character. She’s strong but vulnerable. She’s fearless but battles self-doubt. She’s funny but serious. She’s not a one-dimensional heroine by any means. She feels like a person, which makes it easy to cheer her on her journey.
Amarosa must complete nine trials to save her dying brother; in volume one, we watch her complete the first four trials and learn to mend a character flaw. She’s a badass, but there’s room for improvement. Again, she’s not an archetype, and she’s given room to grow.
“Everything has a weak point if you hit it enough.”
Her first trial finds her facing off a bikini-clad babe that can transform into whatever she wishes. Her first transformation is into a T-Rex, which is quite the introduction. This is our first time seeing Amarosa fight, and I personally am impressed. She knows what she’s doing and she faces it head-on. She is not an accidental heroine who stumbles her way to success; she knows how to fight, and she means business.
Amarosa and dino-babe have some really cute banter, so it’s tough when it’s time for dino-babe to die. She can’t move on to the next trial unless she kills this challenger. This is a high point for the writing; Amarosa doesn’t enjoy killing, nor does she try to justify it. Killing sucks and she knows it sucks. But it’s for her brother, so she does it and moves on to the next trial.
The scenes of Amarosa’s trials are interspersed with scenes of our girl chilling in a field with Kaiden, who seems to be her significant other. Where Amarosa is fleshed-out and real, Kaiden is rather one-dimensional. He’s not particularly interesting or memorable, which is fine, since this isn’t about him. As we come to find, it’s all about her, all about Amarosa, and Kaiden’s sole purpose is to boost Amarosa’s purpose and to give her something to play off of. It’s a nice change from the hero and female side character- typically a lover- who’s only there to make the hero into more of a hero. Kaiden tries to talk Amarosa out of the trials, but as he acknowledges, she’s too stubborn to be talked out of or into anything.
The second trial takes place in the future; Earth is dead, humanity has moved on, and Amarosa is to fight a giant robot. The third trial is set in space, where reality is what you make it. The fourth trial’s Baddie is some sort of rock creature. In this trial, Amarosa finds herself having to fight for a whole village. It’s at this point that she realizes all the trials have been about her. She learns that it’s okay to rely on others, to need protection, but “when the moment arises, I can protect myself.” She can’t save everyone, she learns, and that makes her human. Acknowledging her weaknesses makes her strong.
I enjoy the story and I felt Amarosa’s character was well done. The art, on the other hand, wasn’t so impressive. A lot of it felt amateur, and it didn’t really draw the reader in. A lot of the action panels felt stagnant and lifeless, the scenery and backgrounds weren’t developed, and it was mostly bland and basic. Where the writing had some stand-out moments, the art didn’t quite match up.
At the end of the day, I’d recommend this comic based on the premise, and Amarosa’s character and character development. This comic is lacking in places, but not in ways that majorly detract from the overall experience.
Fight Like A Girl Vol. 1 - Learning Curve Writer: David Pinckney Artist: Soo Lee Publisher: Action Lab Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 4/22/15 Format: TPB; Print/Digital