Review - Jade Street Protection Services #1 (@blackmaskstudio)

"So what did I miss?"

High school is not looked on fondly by many former students. There are likely good times had by many, but the sheer pressure that comes along socially makes things that much worse. Throwing magic into the mix similar to that of Jade Street Protection Services #1 from Black Mask Studio makes things even tougher. The issue is written by Katy Rex, illustrated by Fabian Lelay, colored by Mara Jayne Carpenter and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Kai, Saba, Noemi, Divya and Emma are (bad) students at Matsdotter Academy, an elite private school for magical girls. When they all meet for the first time in a totally unfair detention, these punk rock witch delinquents cut class and discover the fates Matsdotter has in store for them are even more sinister than they suspected.

Rex brings the main characters together in a way that's not entirely original, but it works because of how she presents it. The script is structured in a way that the reader can learn about each of the main characters, the Matsdotter Academy and the conflicts they find themselves in. And each of the characters have a very distinct personality that offers a good amount of conflict amongst one another. The dialogue by Rex facilitates their interactions in a very entertaining way that also moves the story forward. And Rex paces things very evenly in an effort to ensure no part of the story feels forced.

There's a very light approach in terms of the artwork that Lelay relies on for demonstrating the workflow at Matsdotter Academy. The linework is very clean and effective in differentiating each student by relying on distinct styles and personalities. Lelay works in some manga references in some of the panels as well that shows off unique facial expressions that bolster the story. Backgrounds are pretty simplistic in a way that doesn't really make the academy a character itself. Carpenter's colors are muted yet effective in giving the book the appropriate pop where necessary.

Jade Street Protection Services #1 wears its influences on its sleeve. The five main characters may have stumbled upon something much larger than themselves that will force them to mature more quickly than planned. The plot by Rex is simple enough but she gives the characters plenty of personality to carry that tale. Lelay's illustrations are cartoonish in some ways that bring a lightheartedness to the proceedings. Jade Street Protection Services #1 takes the concept of a super school and throws in some magic for good measure.

Jade Street Protection Services #1 is in stores now.