Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review - High School Romance #1


"So...um yeah...basically what I'm trying to say is...uhh..."

Remember high school? That super fun time when everything you did was scrutinized by everyone else there? Work studied by teachers? Actions evaluated by principals? Social status evaluated by peers, both potential and actual? The entire process made for a time that many people wish to forget, but it has a lasting effect on everyone who attends. Living in the now for some is very difficult though, such as in High School Romance #1.

The issue is written and illustrated by Jin Chan Yum Wai, with art assets by Matt Lutton.

Max is what you would call a geek. He's got a small group of friends that he spends time with, getting by as being one of the least popular students at the school. There's a confidence brewing within him though, one that will put him in front of Candy, the most popular girl in the school. He wants to ask her out, but he's got to run the social gamut in order to make his dreams a reality.

Wai has taken the classic, geek falls for prettiest girl story and added in a rather unique twist: everyone at the school doesn't want it to happen. They all have their reasons, but the most interesting is that of the principal, who appreciates the current social balance amidst the students. The dialogue is very snappy and gives each character a very unique voice, with which those characters play their parts well. The story itself is familiar to anyone who's seen a teenage high school movie, but there's enough new twists in this book to keep it feeling fresh and original.

Artistically, there's a lot of anime influences in the work. Characters are illustrated with bold, strong lines that give them definition, with Wai eschewing detailed portrayals of the characters. That doesn't stop their emotion in key moments from shining through when appropriate, giving the book the emotional touch. The color palette chosen is also very interesting, as it relies on black and heavy pink shading, which works exceptionally well for the content of the story itself. The art doesn't rely on setting and detail in general to carry the story along, but it does the job more than sufficiently.

High School Romance #1 is a very fun and entertaining look at the trials and tribulations of being in high school. The social ladder there is one that every student (both current and former) has dealt with, which makes the story very relatable to a very broad audience. The interesting reasons for why most of the school doesn't want Max and Candy together is a breath of fresh air. The twist at the end poises the next issue to go in a very interesting direction that may be slightly unpredictable.

High School Romance #1 is available via Comixology now.

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