A Great Setup That Channels Other Murder-Vigilantes Of Late – a “Tomboy #4” Review
Story and Art: Mia Goodwin
Color: Michelle Wong
You’re going to have give me some latitude here as I have not been on this series and just decided to check out this issue at random. What is here is a very good basis, a solid bit of clay from which a truly remarkable story may be carved. I am not positive I am hooked for certain yet, but I am interested in seeing what comes next.
Tomboy is a mature audience title from Action Lab, published under their sub-label for that kind of content, Danger Zone. An urban tale of revenge, Tomboy’s content is a bit shocking, to say the least. Addison’s close friend, Nick, was murdered at the hands of a pharmaceutical mogul (think Cat Grant if she were a mob boss/mass murderer), and so now Addy is seeking out people on a list of those who falsified reports of drug testing for the company’s biggest potential windfall product in an effort to exact her revenge. This issue opens up with Addison reconnecting with her best friend, Jessica. The girls are both high-schoolers. In addition, we see Detective Mark Brody brought off the sidelines from his recent tragedy and directed to engage on the investigation into Addison’s gruesome murders.
The book is pretty average fare, and much of it is what you would expect from an artistic standpoint. It feels very much like other stories that have been told in recent years, although I cannot put my finger on one that specifically mirrors it (or that it mirrors). I guess overall it feels a bit like a Tarantino movie, maybe? Definitely a bit like Kick-Ass, except, ya know, that the protagonist is a 15/16-yr old serial killer. Probably the major theme that defines the story is that it is the forklifting of teens into a super-serious content perspective that is more suited to an adult cast. This could easily be a movie and it will be interesting to see if it gets picked up anytime soon.
Between story and art the hook here is probably more so the story. There are a lot of nooks and crannies here and a pretty wide net of a cast. Not the easiest thing for encouraging new readers to jump on. I’m also not clear if this is going to be a long-distance ongoing or if the plan is to wrap the story up within 6 to 12 issues. By the nature of the plot, it seems like it should be a pretty short run. But it may also become one of those famous books that tells a non-mainstream story and keeps its following up for much longer than any of us can predict. There’s a lot of the morbid here. Addison’s murders are incredibly brutal and the thought that this young an individual could commit something so psychotic is downright scary. It makes me wish that I had read the first three issues. This might be an interesting trade once it becomes available. Irene Trent, the main villain, is spot on Cat Grant, and that is scary too, when you consider what a powerful character like that would be if they were devoid of the constraints of humanity. It is a great play. This story is one of those setups that kind of writes itself. Solid. Powerful.
The art is where the book falls short of being something that could be an easy pitch for convincing your friends to jump on. The art is fine, just not ground-breaking, or an instant neck-snapper, which is the kind of thing that lends something like this to uptake. Stylistically, it looks a bit like Doonesbury. This plays well with regards to the Sunday comic style juxtaposed to the scenes of the grisly murders. It’s really very procedural art in terms of panel layout, which is good because the story basically plays out a bit like a procedural crime show. So the tone-matching between story and art is great. But in reading it comes off as a bit pedestrian.
The plot and the setup are really the story here. This is a comic that requires a solid commitment, as checking it out from time-to-time or even just jumping on are tough. If you are looking for something that is a bit Harrow County meets CSI, this is right up your alley. The arc may boil all the way up to a high temperature and it may be one of those quirky things in your pull that pays back way more than you invest. It is an interesting take on a few different common themes, and you are going to need to stick with it for a bit before you really get a feel for whether or not it is a keeper. Tomboy #4 shows solid effort and a bit of a hook, but it may not net any big bait. It’s good sophomore level storytelling, but it did not grab me and shake itself out as something distinguishable from the pack beyond the plot. For fans of the crime-story genre, it is a definite keeper, though. You just have to be in that particular line to get the most out of this.