The pitch for Nutmeg is great. A crime saga can be good enough within itself, but to have it be with middle school kids and then these kids be mini bakers makes the pitch that much more fun. You really can’t go wrong when there is food involved in a comic. It is the best of both worlds. So let’s see if this first issue was all it cracked out to be. We enter a town called Vista Vale. Now, we don’t know much about this town, but it seems like there is a clear divide between rich and poor and that these people really value their baked goods (and there is nothing wrong with that). The two main characters are Poppy and Cassia. Cassia is that I don’t care what people think kind of chick and it is awesome to see someone so strong at such a young age. Poppy is the more floater of the two. She lets things slide off her back when really she keeps things bottled up. But although these girls seem like complete opposites, they actually have a lot in common. They love food and baking in particular. But the biggest commonality is Saffron.
Saffron is a straight up mean girl. Cassia hasn’t even been in class for five minutes and Saffron is making fun of her name. She has it all; the good hair, the money, the popularity, and of course she is the leader of the Lady Rangers (think Girl Scouts). Here lies our problem. Oh and obviously, Saffron has history with Poppy and it is not good.
James F. Wright gave us a clear path to follow and clear characters to relate to. The path is good vs. evil. And the characters each have their sides. We have all wanted to seek revenge and most of us didn’t have a Cassia in our lives to push us into doing something. So readers will love these two girls. He gives them some flare, but not enough to be a mean girl. It has great balance.
The story went wrong in a couple of spots though. Everything seemed to fall in place for Cassia nicely. She has the best friend after 1 hour in school, she has the grandmother who owns Poppy’s favorite bakery, and she has the rival, the cute boy crush, and so on. So why does she feel the need to get revenged on someone who literally just made fun of her name? I wish there was more done on this so it didn’t seem so well played out.
The other problem was just pure plot. It fell flat at times. It didn’t seem like a crime saga at all. In a first issue, it should be all laid out for the reader, ready to be consumed with unwavering eyes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get hooked. There wasn’t that click in the first issue. Maybe if we had more character development or if the rivalry between Saffron and the two girls took longer it would have all clicked. Or if the speediness was still there but we actually went somewhere with the crime drama, it would have made for a better first issue.
So again, Nutmeg was in the middle for me. Coming back to issue #2 shouldn’t be a problem for the simple fact that I hope I get that explosion I usually look for in a first issue, otherwise I may not even make it to #3.
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