Friday, August 25, 2017

Review - Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 (@Boomstudios)


"Vinyl Mayhem, the coolest record store in town."

There's an allure about being a teenager that's inescapable. Sure, you don't have nearly the freedom you think because your worldview is pretty small relative to later in life, but you still know what works for you (you think). In Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 from Image Comics, what works for some teenagers isn't exactly conventional. The issue is written by Carly Usdin, penciled by Nina Vakueva, inked by Irene Flores, colored by Rebecca Nalty and lettered by Jim Campbell.

New Jersey, 1998. Chris has just started the teen dream job: working at Vinyl Mayhem, the local record store. She's prepared to deal with anything-misogynistic metalheads, grunge wannabes, even a crush on her wicked cute co-worker, Maggie. But when Rory Gory, the staff's favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band's show in town, Chris finds out her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl...her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club.

Like any good first issue, Usdin uses Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 to introduce the reader to her cast of characters--all of whom fit certain musical/personality types. The dialogue throughout the issue is pretty snappy and allows Usdin to characterize them in unique ways that allows for each of them to be individuals. The way that Usdin blends the disparate personalities together though is what makes them all so endearing as a collective team. Usdin steadily shows the reader what each character is all about through a day at work at Vinyl Mayhem and how the store has to contend with all the things that a typical record store deals with. And Usdin paces things very cleanly as well, setting the scene for her big reveal at the end that serves as the focal point of the series.

Flores' inks ensure that Vakueva's pencils are very refined and focused. Thin, wispy lines are used to render the characters as Vakueva and Flores evoke a manga-style in their approach that keeps the general tone of the art lighthearted. Vakueva arranges the panels to provide establishing shots that further enhance the reader's understanding of each of the characters. The overall look of the book also does a great job of placing it in 1998 through the wardrobe choices of the characters. Nalty's colors are bright and provide ample pop for the work that also contributes to the book's overall airiness.

Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 wears the influences of its era lovingly on its sleeve. Chris doesn't realize the totality of what she's getting at Vinyl Mayhem until the end and it's looking like things are only going to get crazier. Usdin's script pays great homage to works such as Empire Records and High Fidelity. The artwork by Vakueva and Flores is perfect for the book and doesn't let the concept of a fight club make the book feel too violent. Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 is an entertaining first issue that sets up the series well for events yet to come.

Hi-Fi Fight Club #1 is available now.

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