Review: Fence #5

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
April 20th, 2018

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Fence #5
Comics
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Review of: Fence #5
Price:
Sporting Excitment

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On April 20, 2018
Last modified:April 21, 2018

Summary:

Character and conflict feed off each other to create a tense and exciting issue of Fence. As this series progresses it becomes more and more engaging.

Review of: Fence #5
Price:
Sporting Excitment

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On April 20, 2018
Last modified:April 21, 2018

Summary:

Character and conflict feed off each other to create a tense and exciting issue of Fence. As this series progresses it becomes more and more engaging.

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Sporting tension and budding rivalries are the names of the game in the Boom! Box monthly comic Fence. Our contributor, Darryl Robson, takes a look at the latest issue of the Fencing based, Manga-inspired sporting comic.

There’s a lot of Fence this week as Volume 1 (collection the first four issues), and subject five is released on the same day. That means you can catch up with the entire series in one go if you’re lagging behind. And after the announcement that the series will now be ongoing, it gives the creators a chance to explore the characters and their relationships.

Synopsis

Nicholas laments his recent loss and begins to question his fencing ability. Will a late-night pep talk from the coach be enough to help him get back in the game?

Meanwhile, Superstar fencer Seiji is set to face down privileged boy Aiden. It seems like a foregone conclusion, but in the past, anything can happen.

Credit: Boom! Studios

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Analysis

How much of the story has changed since the announcement that Fence is going to be an ongoing is for C.S. Pacat to know, but this issue has the feel of a longer story arc? It primarily consists of two scenes, each focusing the two central characters, Nicholas and Seiji. The script contrasts the two personalities showing the reader how Nicholas and Seiji are affected by the words of others.

Much of this issue is taken up with a single fencing match, between Seiji and Aiden, but that’s not to say nothing happens. The tension between the fencers and expressed by the crowd is passed onto the reader making this one of the tensest issues of Fence so far. Even though the ‘hero’ Nicholas isn’t involved directly, there is still a lot at stake. Aiden is portrayed as a smug, privileged rich kid but he still poses a threat to Seiji and Nicholas and Pacat makes that very clear. This issue establishes the struggles that are ahead and that it’s not going to be a simple Hero wins over Villain storyline. There are many characters who all have a stake in this narrative, and the creators are giving the reader a diverse cast to befriend.

To accompany the emotional and exciting narrative is some dynamic, fast-paced panels magnificently drawn by Johanna the Mad. The minimalistic backgrounds and fine black outlines suit this type of story entirely as it emphasizes the action over the setting. The narrative focuses on the interactions between the two fencers, and the artwork does precisely the same. The uneven panel sizes and shapes reflect the pace of the athletes, and the multiple viewpoints give the entire fencing match the feeling of an elaborate dance.

Each character design is reasonably stylised and in some cases could be seen a caricature, but the simplicity has a purpose. It makes each character instantly recognizable, especially in scenes where they are all wearing the same outfits: the fencer’s whites. The narrative wouldn’t have the same flow if on each page the writer and artist had to specify who is who. This has been done already when the character is introduced in each issue, and their instant individual look makes them easy to follow.

The fence is an exciting comic with a diverse cast waiting for the reader to engage with. There are moments of humour and tension and an ongoing struggle for the central characters to find their place. As a narrative, it’s easily relatable, and the central characters are easy to like or dislike. One of the beauties of this comic is that you can consume it in a matter of minutes or you can savour it, lingering over the growing connexions between the cast.

I’m glad this comic has become an ongoing series because it gives C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad the chance to explore the characters and the fencing school they inhabit.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson, but he does remember to write more about comics on his website comiccutdown.com

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Fence #5

  • 4

Sporting Excitment

Character and conflict feed off each other to create a tense and exciting issue of Fence. As this series progresses it becomes more and more engaging.

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