If you’ve followed my reviews this year, then you know that I’m incredibly hard on second issues. That said, I was insanely happy with the second issue of Tomboy. I had little doubt that it would disappoint, but you just don’t know until you read it. Especially after this year. I’ve basically lost track of how many books I stopped reading based on a terrible second issue. If you liked or in my case loved the first issue of Tomboy then you’ll feel the same with the second issue. Thankfully I can now talk about some of the details from the first issue because you really should have read it before reading a review for the second issue. We left Addy bloody and drenched standing in front of her grandfather. Would this issue pick up from there? Not a chance. Instead we go back to the crime scene in which Addy went Magic Girl crazy on the two police officers involved in the murder of her best friend and his father.
Mia Goodwin choses a wonderful tactic in which she only shows you hints of the carnage which makes it look a lot worse. At one point we do see the results of the carnage on one of the officers faces and it’s brutal. One of the cops survive, but he’s a bit out of it. Still, that could spell trouble for Addy who got lucky because none of the cameras in that area were working.
Then we go back to Addy as she showers and gets the blood off of her. Her grandfather, while wearing his “#1 Grandpa” shirt, is destroying her clothes and removing any trace of blood from her shoes and basically anything that’s not going into the furnace. Damn… he is the #1 Grandpa. Later he calls a nurse… let’s just say she’s familiar if you paid attention to the first issue.
Just like the first issue there’s a lot going on in this issue. I’m reminded of a video on Satoshi Kon that talks about his editing and how he felt he could draw less and convey more to the audience (here if you’re curious, thanks to Austin for showing me that). I bring this up because I think that Goodwin’s style is very similar. This is a twenty-two-page comic and yet more happens in this comic than any other twenty-two-page comic I’ve read this year. There isn’t a wasted panel. I mean my summary is basically the first five pages and yet look how much I revealed to you. If you don’t appreciate that or understand just how damn talented she is with the way she’s visually constructed this story, then you’re not paying attention. Even if you’re not in love with the story you should be able to appreciate that because she’s showing a mastery of the medium.
What I love about the story is that I still don’t know if the magic girl elements are real or not. Is it her coping mechanism or is it really happening? I don’t know. I do know that Goodwin keeps you guessing by having so much of this story centered in reality. Because everything outside of the magic girl element feels real. It’s a great hook and I can’t wait to see the outcome.
As for Goodwin’s artwork, it’s just incredible. I’m loving her artwork so damn much. It’s detailed, realistic and yet it has a style to it. The only gripe I have is that the blood looked slapped on the top of the panel in the opening. I personally didn’t mind it, but I can’t deny that it looks separated. Going back to the Kon thing, not a wasted panel. Everything happens quickly and yet you’re never lost. Goodwin will start a panel in the previous panel giving it a very fluid feel to it. For instance, Grandpa meets the nurse in the park and in one panel we see a crow eating another bird and then in the next panel it’s a close up that then goes into the same set up as the Nurse. Almost implying that they’re both killers. There’s also a great transition between two blood puddles that was so subtle I almost missed it. Again, you could miss all of this if you’re not paying attention so I encourage you to soak in every panel of every page.
I can’t express how much I enjoyed this issue. This is one of the best series I’ve read all year and it sucks that it’s shipping right at the end of the year. It’ll show up on my end of the year list in some way, shape or form, but I got a feeling a lot of people are missing it already. If you missed the first issue… go back and get it. Get both issues and check out what’s quickly become one of the best series of the year.
Tomboy #2 Creator: Mia Goodwin Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/9/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital