Goldie Vance Vol. 4
Story by: Hope Larson and Jackie Bell
Writer: Jackie Bell
Illustrator: Elle Power
Color Artist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Review by Stephanie Cooke
After the third volume of Goldie Vance, the series stopped coming out in single issues. Instead, the creators (and probably the publisher) opted to switch over to releasing in trade, which I think is a fantastic move. I honestly wish more series went to a trade-only model. That’s another thing to talk about for another day, but yeah: Goldie Vance Vol. 4 was a straight-to-trade graphic novel.
In this volume, Goldie is back at it as a delightful in-house teen detective at the Crossed Palms hotel. The hotel is hosting a huge music festival that will draw in crowds from near and far, and everyone is rushing around to make it happen. Things with the music festival take a turn after mysterious power outages start happening around the town with no explanation. Goldie and her friends uncover what might be a KGB plot and Goldie needs all the help she can get to take the bad guys down!
If you haven’t read Goldie Vance before, I believe that each of the trades are great to pick up and enjoy without having read the others. The first volume really sets the tone and gives you a great idea of who each of the characters are, and really helps you get to know the setting. The rest just pick up where the first left off, but not in a way that makes it hard to jump in. Of course, there are always nuggets that refer to previous material, but Larson (and in this book, Bell) have been good about ensuring that they aren’t essential things that you absolutely have to know.
Within Volume 4, there is a character that comes back from a previous volume that we haven’t seen since that volume ,but, aside from some minor confusion initially (in terms of the references they were making), I didn’t find it detrimental to my reading experience. Like Nancy Drew, Goldie Vance is a series that is meant to be picked up in any order.
My order in terms of favourite Goldie Vance stories is: Volume 1 (the OG!), Volume 4 (this current one), Volume 3 (Goldie teams up with Sugar Maple), and Volume 2 (underwater astronaut extravaganza). Not that you asked, but yeah. For me, the original is always the one that’s the most beloved to me, but this mystery had a little bit more substance to it now that we’ve gotten to know the characters over the last little while.
I read Volume 2 & 3 pretty recently so the only thing that I was kind of missing from Volume 4 was more of Cheryl. Volume 2 focused a lot on Cheryl and Goldie’s relationship so I guess with Volume 4 focusing more on Diane and Goldie’s relationship, it was understandable but I’ve come to really enjoy Cheryl as a character and definitely wanted more.
That being said, Diane is a great character and I love seeing her and Goldie together. Having moments where Goldie is vulnerable and relatable as a young girl in love was incredibly sweet. There are so many genuine emotions that float right out of the comic. The art works perfectly with the script and both work hand in hand to make Goldie and her friends come to life.
I loved the colours by Sarah Stern – the whole book has so many bright, wonderful colours and they help set the tone of what’s going on so well. Honestly, how did we ever have comic books without colours? I honestly think the lack of colour in manga is a reason I don’t flock to that medium as much. That’s another thing to talk about at a later time and date but the colours can make or break a comic book for me and Stern masterfully uses her palette to make Volume 4 even more amazing.
Elle Power takes over the art from Brittney Williams, and initially I was a little skeptical but that lasted for maybe one page before I was 100% on board with Power’s style. The fun, animated art is still there but Power gives it a little bit more of a manga twist in terms of the eyes and the facial expressions. It super works and I took a little bit of extra time while I was reading the book to stop and really look at the characters and the way that Power crafted each look.
Goldie Vance Volume 4 is definitely a great addition to a fun series with an expert team of creators on board that make this book an absolute treat to read.
Verdict: Buy it!
I adore this comic so much; it checks so many boxes in terms of how wonderful it is. Between the interesting and diverse characters, the fun story, the great art, and the fact that it feels accessible to people of all-ages, Goldie Vance is a comic book for everyone.