Saturday, May 4, 2013

Comic Review: Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Phew, I actually did not know if I was going to be able to review this title until last night when the last page was posted, talk about down to the wire! Especially since, like last year's Friends With Boys the full version of this comic is only going to be online for a short while longer (until the 7th, I suspect a part of it will remain up as a preview) so I really wanted to tell people about this as soon as I could. I mentioned Friends With Boys for a reason there, this is Faith Erin Hick's newest (I think?) work, although this time it's a sorta-kinda collaboration with the author Prudence Shen. What happened was that several years back Prudence Shen wrote a book, shopped it around, and an agent who had worked with Faith before read it and then bought the rights with the intent to develop it into a graphic novel instead which is something I'm sure must have happened before but I can't actually recall hearing another case like it. This did make me a little hesitant going in, since I seem to like Faith's work when she's writing and drawing it but not just drawing it, but it seems like a combination of Shen's writing and how Faith adapted it just worked for me.

Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks

Summary: Charlie was having a fairly good start to the school year, even if his girlfriend (Holly, the head cheerleader) suddenly broke up with him, and things go downhill quickly when his friend Nate starts a fight with the cheerleaders over misplaced school funding that both groups want and Charlie finds himself in the middle of a bizarre scuffle that involves student body elections, family drama, and a robot rumble. 

The Good: As noted earlier, Shen wrote the original novel but Faith adapted it to work as a graphic novel style (and sized) story and I would have never guessed that since it's such a good fit. The author notes on various pages note that there was only one major change to the story (a scene near the end and I completely agree with the change) so I guess this means I should keep an eye out for Shen's other works as well. As for the actual story, much like Friends I was pleasantly surprised to see that Charlie is dealing with divorced parents because, well, I've been there and once I started looking I noticed that most YA books that had a protagonist with divorced parents either glossed over it or it happened so many years ago that the protagonist was okay with it. Here it's still a very raw part of Charlie's life and I really wish I had had this story a few years earlier. Other than that, the character felt fleshed out, I really like the choice to portray Holly the cheerleader as cool and distant instead of bitchy and all the major players get enough fleshing out to feel like real characters by the end. 

The Bad: The ending felt a little rocky to me but that could be because again I wasn't sure when it was going to finish and really wanted it to be soon so I could actually review it, I'm sure it reads much better when all read at once. Likewise, while the pacing felt fine more or less I'm sure the robot fight scenes will flow much better when people aren't reading them page by page and that's a really tricky kind of pacing for people to master and considering that this was created to be a print book I would have been incredibly impressed if the book's pacing flowed well both ways. 

The Art: The art is rather nice, the characters look distinct from each other with a variety of body shapes, faces, noses, and no two hair styles look alike, and all of the many action scenes look fine. There are a few pages where it's a bit hard to follow what the robots are doing but I think that's because I'm less experienced with robot fights so in a way I don't know what to expect and that makes it harder to figure out what happened (versus say a fistfight which I've seen plenty of in movies over the years and that gives me the context to figure out what's going on in a comic book fistfight*). So anyway, by and large the art is rather nice and very solid with just one or two rough patches, the paneling is pretty nice as well.

A fun read and while I haven't ordered a copy yet (because finances, guys moving out on your own is TERRIFYING) but I highly recommend people who enjoyed it to do so and then to post in the preorder campaign page so that they can unlock even more tiers/prizes in their special campaign. More about everything, and the comic itself, can be found over here and remember that the whole thing will be online only until the 7th so if you want to try it now is the time!

*unless you're Sailor Moon but that was two weeks ago)

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