Writer: Katy Rex
Art: Fabian Lelay
Colors: Mara Jayne Carpenter
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: BLACK MASK STUDIOS (June 2016)
Welcome to Mattsdotter Academy, a magic school where we meet our girls: Divya, Kai, Saba, Noemi and Emma. These girls are very different. Some are very smart. Some are very abrasive. Yet, it is still very much high school as these girls are being trained in magic. Yet, as the five girls uncover a conspiracy dealing with classmates magic being taken, as their magic are tied to an object to help them control it. Now are girls, after being thrown together at detention, will now jump into action to stop this conspiracy.
Going in reverse order here. The only thing that was a little off putting was that the colors looked a bit less vibrant as they should have in a few scenes. And there are times where I feel Lelay was a bit too simplistic, but it is more of a style thing. But those the only real gripes.
The Moment of the Issue:
The girls uncovering the conspiracy towards the end of the book was handled well, and quite exciting as it was a nice little twist of an old trope done really well.
I am a fan of comics. I am a fan of magical girl anime. I’m a fan of groups that kind of strike out on their own and do their own thing. This groups seems to fit all three criteria in spades. Rex & Lelay truly have something special here … unique in terms of fashion and name. Lelay clearly loves this project as the art is quite well detailed when it needs to, giving us every nuisance of a character well. There are distinctive looks and personalities to the girls and Lelay conveys that exquisitely through his art. The lighter moments are given good color, even if a little bit muted in some of the later portions of the book. Carpenter is clearly looking to make the book and Lelay’s art strong with her own color. And there are some really gems of that here. Particularly the “transformation” scene, which is well done. They don’t go through multiple pages of a “henshin” for the girls, just one page to set it up, giving readers an idea while allowing them to also think about the rest of the transformation.
I love the fact that each of these girls definitely have a unique look to go with their personality. It screams diversity while be very natural. Kudos to Rex, Lelay & Carpenter for pulling off good designs. Lelay’s panel composition is pretty strong. Lelay and Carpenter make sure to give readers enough details in the surroundings, but there focuses on our core group of girls. Normally, that might have worked against them, but it actually works for them here of the vast majority, given the cast of the book. Things are simple to pick up on. While the art style might not be something most readers come to know, it still works well and you can tell that Lelay enjoys doing the book based on everything he tries.
Rex, meanwhile, pens a very strong first issue. It’s fairly straight forward when you first start reading it, but as the book goes on, Rex twists normal tropes on their ear; creating a spectacle to behold. Every character has a distinct voice, personality and modus operandi that are clearly showing amongst our main protagonists, but Rex leaves plenty of room for growth and intrigue. The dialogue is pretty killer, feeling very authentic … except for the changed words for cursing. Yet, it works for the book and adds a flavor to the atmosphere with our group of delinquent magic girls. Rex does an amazing job doing some innovation on how the girls magic work and the importance of a transformation item here. It’s clever and logical while adding tension to any situation. The overall first issue really brings out group together, while letting them all stand out on their own. No one girl seemed to take more space than the other, save for Emma … but given she’s narrating … that makes a lot of sense. Kudos to Rex for also building up Emma’s character through the narration and making it a part of her character. I’m looking to see how functional & dysfunctional this team gets over time.
Jade Street Protection Services # 1 is the beginning of a gem that we are just starting to get to know. We have a group of magical girls that are very different from many others, while Rex decides to use tropes from team books, magical girl anime and 80s movies to create a new world that is intriguing. The characters all felt authentic and read as much. Lelay & Carpenter’s art was solid, showing us the girls and a bit of the world that they live in. We clearly know the personalities of our characters just by seeing them move or their facial expressions, which is superb. And while I do think that some detail & colors were skimped here and there, the overall art was well done. I liked what I was looking at. And I am excited for what’s to come.