Sunday, October 9, 2011

The New York Five - Review


In Brain Wood’s sequel to the comic book series The New York Four we find Lona, Merrisa, Ren, and Riley where the first story had left off. The four of them are sharing an apartment as they attend NYU and are leaning to adjust to being freshmen and young people in the most famous city in the world. But between relationships, family, and dark secrets, it’s only a matter of time before their picture perfect lives come crashing down on them. Somewhere, at the heart of their plight, is a homeless girl named Olive, who has some secrets of her own.

Ryan Kelly’s black and white art in this book is nothing short of brilliant. Every page pops in high contrast inks and the girls in The New York Five look and feel like real people you’d meet in a coffee shop or band venue. The locations, which are all real New York spots, are drawn in breathtaking detail and are as much a part of the story as the characters are.

Wood has thrown us into war with DMZ and shown us the dark side of superpowers in Demo, but in The New York Five he reminds us how powerful everyday struggles in our youth can be and how they can define us for a lifetime. It’s a shame that more series like this aren’t as popular as the superhero comics that dominate the market. In fact, this has the taste of manga-influenced storytelling in the black and white scheme and pacing of the story. I can’t say that it was intentional, but it does make it a bonus for people who do enjoy manga and slice-of-life comics.

I give this collection a 4.5/5 for its beautiful artwork, complex characters, and great narrative. The cover and color scheme also really pops, and would look great on someone’s wall if it were ever turned into a poster or print.

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