Fence, Volume One by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, & Joana Lafuente
Comic Book | Young Adult | LGBT
Published by Boom! Box
Released July 31, 2018
Goodreads | Amazon
The only thing I knew about this comic book series going into it was that it involved fencing, and that was more than enough for me. I fenced for a brief time in college and enjoyed it, although I wish I had stuck with it longer. I enjoyed the amount of skill and precision involved, even if I ended up with bruises at the end of the meetings.
I was disappointed in this series, however. It’s full of tropes, felt predictable, and I found myself having to push through it because I didn’t feel like DNF-ing something so short. I’m definitely in the minority with this rating; it’s actually a much-loved comic book series, which is evident from its Goodreads ratings (at the time of this writing, it has over 3,000 ratings with the average being 4.07.)
The art is really good and was the one aspect of the comic book that I did enjoy. The color scheme is perfect and the art is modern with clean lines and tons of differentiation between characters.
It was also nice to see a comic book series with such diverse characters in terms of sexuality, socio-economic background, race, and more. There’s a lot of great representation in this series.
Overall, though, I just found the story predictable. Nicholas is the illegitimate son of a fencing legend and is accepted into a private school. There he joins the fencing team and faces an impossible-to-beat fencer named Seiji. If you’re starting to piece together a plot involving the underdog fencer who comes into his own and overcomes everyone thinking he won’t make it – you’d be right. Of course, Nicholas and Seiji end up being roommates. Of course, Nicholas is going to have to face his illegitimate half-brother. It’s all just so predictable.
Lastly, I hated the character of Aiden, who is supposed to be the heartthrob of the school. He’s basically a sexual predator who preys on younger students, sleeps with them, and then discards them along with their confused emotions.
As I mentioned before, I’m in the minority in not liking this comic series. So many people love it, and I’m glad they enjoyed it. I just couldn’t get into it and felt bored as I read it.