Bully Wars #1
Writer: Scottie Young
Artist: Aaron Conley
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letterer: Mate Piekos
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
Bullying can be a major problem in schools. One of the most successful ways to confront the issue is through education and awareness. That can come from public service announcements, motivational speakers, movies, and books. And yes, even comicbooks. Enter Scottie Young’s Bully Wars #1.
Bully Wars #1 introduces us to Spencer. Spencer is a small scholarly looking kid getting ready for his first day of high school. Although a victim of bullying in the past, Spencer is confident that high school is going to be much different. He is prepared academically and has a plan for how to combat bullies. We also meet his two friends Edith and Ernie who are twins. While neither are as nerdy as Spencer, they are not part of the popular club either. As they wait for the bus, we are introduced to Rufus, the bully that has been harassing Spencer his whole life. It is once the three of them get to school though that the things really get interesting.
Young is known for being able to write witty and over-the-top dialogue and stories. Just look at the recently finished I Hate Fairyland for an adult example of this. In Bully Wars #1 Young is able to introduce much of those same things, except in a more kid-friendly version. You won’t find lines filled with cursing or adult themes. Instead we get the gross, over-exaggerated scenes that many younger readers will love. We also do not get a story of ultimate revenge. Instead, Young has chosen to tell a story of understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness–well, in some ways at least. The over-the-top themes and actions within the first issue also allows for people to escape the real-world bullies. The humor makes it much easier to digest and avoids the chance of someone being triggered by some of the actions.
Conley’s art in Bully Wars #1 compliments Young’s dialogue. From spitballs that cover entire bodies to rats running in the rafters above, the art is exactly the kind of thing that young minds would think up. And, not only are there the main characters, but Conley fills the halls with different personalities that anyone who has walked the halls of a high school will recognize. The colors are bright and exciting. They jump off the page at you as you turn the pages. Throughout, Conley also fills the panels with enough extras that it warrants re-reading as you look for more things hidden throughout.
Verdict: Buy it.
Bully Wars #1 is the perfect back to school all-ages read. Parents, singles, and kids alike will be able to enjoy the introduction of the classic dealing-with-bullies plot but with a twist. Young keeps the dialogue quick and witty, while Conley’s art provides the perfect compliment to the story. Go grab a copy today or risk getting stuffed in a locker.