Hifi Fight Club #1
Written by: Carly Usdin
Art by: Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, Rebecca Nalty, and Jim Campbell
Published by BOOM! Studios
Hi-Fi Fight Club is Boom’s next radical teen girl adventures comic, orchestrated by Carly Usdin and Nina Vakueva. With a distinct look and distinct characters, Boom offers a new Boom Box title to bring in new readers and entertain those who know exactly the fun and heart that a Boom comic can bring.
Chris is a teen girl in 1999, and this means a few things. It means that there’s plenty of clothes-related androgyny in dressing her as the classic tomboy of the era, it means that she has a crush who she works with, and that more importantly, that crush is at the coolest record store in town. Chris and Maggie work at Vinyl Mayhem, and they’ve got the other cool teen girl tropes of the time; Dolores fulfilling the rival goth, and Kennedy being as cool as possible at 18. Chris has the typical struggle in having any idea if Maggie even likes girls much less her, made more difficult when the feminine example gives her the hottest music magazine that month, featuring another of one of Chris’s crushes in a leather-jacket clad centerfold. Maggie says she’s quite the babe, and Chris wonders what that even means, as you do. The boss Irene runs the store, helping each of the girls with their specialties, while Chris laments really hoping that working their will give her more of an idea of hers, as opposed to mostly spending more time with Maggie. Chris shows her hand a few time when she hops to defend what’s popular, but it’s all in the way of finding her place in the world; and when you’re 17, your world is your work, your school and your friends. When a band is playing a show at the shop the next day, Chris does everything she can to be a part of it, which mostly means playing the role of fangirl. This does her enough good until the talent bails, with the lead singer nowhere to be found. Strangely enough this seems to be a bit exciting for the rest of the staff and their boss Irene, who give a phony report in order to shut down the story, and invite Chris into the shady basement. As her new friends talk about something going on, Chris is shocked at the real news when they reach the bottom; the real Vinyl Mayhem is no record store, but a teen girl vigilante fight club.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read:
This book is real pretty. Boom can be stereotyped as having a certain house style for its teen girl adventure books, and if it did, this book would stand out while still holding a few of the classic tropes. Every character has a particular style of clothing and body language, going into a delightfully detailed style that still has the more cartoony and simplistic expressions for the really light music. This book is also very cute, going from the way it’s drawn to the personalities and conversations of the characters. That’s a rather common way Boom books can be written off and simplified into one idea, but it’s just one of the things that makes Hi-Fi work so well. It captures the dynamics between teens well, especially at a work environment where things aren’t always as cut and dry as the mall or school (when it comes to the most popular 90’s hangouts). And for me, the best part of this book is the way it looks at the anxiety of a teen and how hard that stuff is. Chris worries about every little thing she does, she daydreams and gets distracted, she tries to think about what she does and how she can change it, and she reacts to things at either a ten or a one, as you do at that age. I’m very curious for what the bulk of this book is going to be, while recognizing that it’s going to be this same kind of charming but emotion driven character to play, the titular fight club itself is something I’m looking forward to.
Final Score: 8/10