Fence #1 Review

I have sat and enjoyed almost every underdog film I’ve ever watched. I’ve known exactly what’s to come of course, but still relished the moment when it has arrived, and this is where, at present, Fence, fits in for me.

Over the years I’ve encountered a lot of comics covering a whole lot of topics, however, until yesterday I had not encountered one that used the sport of fencing as its backdrop. It almost seems a little too niche at first glance. However, after just a few panels it quickly becomes apparent that, Fence, is a classic tale of the underdog striving for glory.

The underdog in this case is, Nicholas Cox. Young Nick is blessed with so many tropes that tales of this ilk have spun so many times previously that he’s almost more caricature than character. He’s from a background of poverty, has a father who was a former champion in fencing circles, paid for his training doing, Daniel Larusso, style jobs for his trainer and mentor Joe, a cross between Rocky’s Mick and Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi.

The foundations being laid by writer, C.S. Pacat, in issue one are all very familiar. By the time we reach the final panel, our protagonist does have a larger purpose, an arch enemy, and a few interested bystanders. But, literally nothing within issue one caught me by surprise. The characters remained relatively uninteresting and two-dimensional, being only lightly fleshed out and rather stereotypical, the story was a little run of the mill, and the dialogue was generally simplistic and beige. Yet, despite these apparent shortcomings, for whatever reason, I found myself totally hooked in from start to finish. I found myself rooting for the underdog, invested in his personal journey almost right away. For all its flaws and nods to a hundred similar tales before it, despite it feeling like a well-worn path we were being taken down, I really enjoyed reading Fence #1.

And, I think I know what this stems from. Sure, C.S. Pacat is painting a picture we’ve all seen before on countless occasions, but we all love a story of the little guy making it big. There’s something about us as humans that makes cheering for the underdog an easy, almost natural, thing to do. And Nicholas Cox is just the latest in a long line of likeable characters shooting for the stars that I’m backing all the way.

The art, from Johanna The Mad, is crisp and sharp on the page and adopts a sort of minimal approach in a lot of the panels, never being too busy. It complements the writing very well and has a real manga quality to it that helps draw the reader deeper into the story.

I have sat and enjoyed almost every underdog film I’ve ever watched. I’ve known exactly what’s to come of course, but still relished the moment when it has arrived, and this is where, at present, Fence, fits in for me.

Now, I may be doing the comic a huge disservice, as right now we are only one issue in and this story could literally take off in any direction, aliens might yet land, or some alternate universe may be discovered, but at present I sort of hope this one sticks to the tried and tested route. It’s been a while since I had an underdog sporting story to invest my time into, and despite Fence doing nothing spectacular or surprising, it still does enough to prove engaging, and right now that’s good enough for me.

Fence #1

3.99
Fence #1
7

Overall

7.0/10

Pros

  • Classic underdog sporting tale
  • Lovely crisp artwork
  • Gets its hooks in

Cons

  • No surprises here
  • Dialogue is pretty bland

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