Fence Volume 1
Writer: C.S. Pacat
Artist: Johanna the Mad
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom Studios
Review by Hafsa Alkhudairi
I read Fence Volume 1 on a whim. I saw an épée on the cover, assumed it has something to do with fencing, and decided to read it. I would like to say it’s because of my love for the art, but I really do find the sport sexy. To my surprise, not only is the narrative compelling, but the art and the style are outstanding too. When I saw who wrote it and who illustrated it, I understood that it was a gem. After finishing this volume, I literally told everyone on Goodreads to go grab a copy because I fell in love! I can’t wait for volume 2.
The narrative of Fence Volume 1 follows a young man who is trying to become a champion fencer. Right off the bat, the narrative shows his determination to develop and be better. However, as many people can relate, he gets into his own head and overwhelms himself with self-doubt. The narrative does not focus on that point, but it does highlight the different characters in sports. The differences show how people react to the stress of becoming champion and/or making it to the team. The main character, Nicholas Cox, has many obstacles to overcome including his anxiety and people who have actually won championships.
My issue with many sports-related comics is that they tend to lose sight of characters or the sport. In Fence Volume 1, fencing was treated amazingly. It did not overwhelm the narrative or the art. It was well-balanced and thoughtfully represented. The character design, the set of the narrative, and the art style are all well done. Moreover, I believe Johanna the Mad was the perfect illustrator to accompany Pacat’s writing. They really do complement each other, creating an amazing comic book.
My favorite thing about this volume that each issue within develops the main characters. The narrative also develops the side characters, giving them more depth and complications. Moreover, the story helps develop the readers’ affection for the characters because the characters are real and relatable.
Verdict: Buy it.
Fence Volume 1 is a very enjoyable book, especially for those who love Check! Please and/or Yuri! On Ice. The narrative and the art present a cohesive understanding of the art of fencing, bringing forth a new age of sports comics. However, there is depth to the narrative and art. Each panel and each issue within the volume introduces a new side to the characters and complicates them. The comic is amazing, and I recommend it to everyone! Find it here or go to your local comic book shop and buy it!