If you are looking for a drama-centered story that’s borderline realistic and has no sign of a super-powered-anything in sight, then FENCE should find a place on your pull list. High-school student Nicholas Cox is determined to prove his worth in the world of fencing, an elite sport often frequented by the wealthy and talented. With plenty of the second, none of the first and more than enough drive, the rookie enters Regionals, despite the toll it takes on his sparse bank account. Paired up against a formidable opponent, Cox is in for a match that no one envies him. Afterwards, awarded the chance at a scholarship for a low-tier high-school with an iffy fencing team, Cox looks forward to a rematch. But the school walls hold more than his chance at achieving his dreams of fencing success, and a wrench in thrown in his plans before he’s even made the team.
High-school sports comics aren’t something I find myself clamoring to read, but I must admit, C.S. Pacat has an intriguing story on her hands. I found myself invested in the rough life Cox leads, and though the plot line falls a bit into a predictive rut in the first issue of FENCE, I look forward to what she has planned for the upcoming series. While the characters don’t have strong voices of their own to give them much of a distinctive personality yet, the bones of a solid story are present. Paired with Johanna the Mad’s clean art, FENCE holds great potential. Johanna’s work is neat, the focal points clear and technically sound. My only complaint is that the character’s expressions don’t come across strongly; with the text, however, it isn’t difficult to discern emotion.
Overall, FENCE is a good drama, and I plan to give the series a try. I’ve got hopes that it’ll deter from the looming cliched YA story line, and insert more character into the work, but if it doesn’t, Pacat and Johanna will still have a fun, easy to read story that teens and light-hearted adults should enjoy.
(W) C.S. Pacat (A/CA) Johanna the Mad