Friday, November 13, 2009

Comic Review: NOLA #1 (Boom Studios)

Set against the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the 4-part mini NOLA is, according to the synopsis, a tale of revenge. As the story opens, Nola Thomas is met with police resistance when she tries to get back into what’s left of New Orleans. Her face is covered, and she knows her way around a gun and hand-to-hand combat. The story skips back three weeks to a sidewalk cafĂ©, where Nola, her mother, her friend Cinda, and Cinda’s father are finishing lunch. As the meal ends, the families part ways. Writer Chris Gorak does a good job of establishing that life in the Big Easy is good, but complicated. Nola has a boyfriend her mother doesn’t approve of, and she’s going out to meet him under the guise of going out with Cinda. This is where it should start to get interesting.

The thing that drew me to the book was the revenge angle. I was hoping for a Kill Bill or Sword-style story. We get insight into just what revenge she’s after, but I didn’t get enough information to really draw me in. From what the cops she encounters say, you get an idea that her reputation precedes her. I would hope with the next issue there will be more backstory. With only four issues in the series, they have to get to the story pretty quickly. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very bare bones tale of revenge. Without any point of reference, it seems like her actions in this issue are a little severe.

The biggest weak point in the book is Damian Couceiro’s art. The characters’ faces, especially Nola’s, seem to go between extreme detail and very generic expressions. For the first few panels, I wasn’t sure how old we are to believe Nola is. In some panels she looks as old as her mother; in others she looks very young and pretty. The same is true for Chevis Turner, Nola’s boyfriend. It’s hard to tell if it’s a May-December romance or if she’s dating a playboy her age. Couceiro is good with action, but the characters are not as expressive at times as the story requires.

Revenge makes for a good story most of the time, but I’m not sure I am interested enough to see how this dish is best served.

Stacey Rader
Staff Reviewer

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