Friday, July 1, 2016

Review - Clarence: Quest #1 (@boomstudios)


"I'm so nervous, you guys."

Kids are content to do things that the enjoy. There's sometimes a disconnect though between what they enjoy and what doesn't get them in trouble, but they persist in their ability to keep finding ways to succeed. Finding a teacher's cat is the goal in Clarence: Quest #1 from KaBOOM! Studios. The issue is written by Nick Cron-DeVico and lettered by Scott Maynard. "Reality" is illustrated by Matt Smigiel and colored by Scott Maynard and "Cat Forest" is illustrated by Meg Omac.

Beauford the cat has escaped! Sumo, Jeff, and Clarence decide to help rescue him from the evil woods.

The premise behind Clarence: Quest #1 is exceedingly harmless and that's what makes it pretty charming. Cron-DeVico writes a script full of dialogue that's lighthearted and enjoyable in an effort to further lighten the mood. The characters are all tasked with solving a problem they created and the fact that the problem is a runaway cat gives Cron-DeVico plenty of room to be creative. The issue's pacing is in line with that of students and Cron-DeVico relies on that to ensure nothing feels forced. It also helps that Cron-DeVico doesn't let the issue get bogged down in seriousness.

There are essentially two stories in Clarence: Quest #1. Smigiel's artwork in "Reality" is simple and cartoonish, reminding the reader that they're essentially watching a cartoon in a comic. Maynard's colors are all primary and reinforce the concept of a story about kids doing kids things. Omac's illustrations in "Cat Forest" are very similar to that of Smigiel and gives the book a visual continuity. Both artists do a great job of emphasizing the action without making things seem too serious for the players involved.

Clarence: Quest #1 is a pretty enjoyable read that doesn't need to make grandiose statements about life to succeed. Clarence and his crew are adept at getting into trouble, but they manage to find a way out that takes the edge off of the offense. Cron-DeVico's script is straightforward and to the point. The relatively relaxed illustration style on the part of both Smigiel and Omac is very refreshing and keeps the book grounded in its frivolity. Clarence: Quest #1 will appeal to fans of the series as well as those looking for some all-ages fun.

Clarence: Quest #1 is in stores now.

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