By Pamela Ribon, Veronica Fish, Brittany Peer, and Jim Campbell
There is nothing like a fresh face new comic like Slam! from BOOM! Studios to give you a nice little pick me up in the middle of your week. This first issue is from writer Pamela Ribon (Rick and Morty) and artist Veronica Fish (Silk, and Archie) and it depicts the essence of female friendship goals as they navigate the exciting world of roller derby. The story drops us right into the women’s roller derby locker room and even though we don’t get much action in the roller rink, there are plenty of hits and bumps throughout this first issue to keep you hooked for the next one.
Slam! #1 introduces us to Jennifer Chu and Maisie Huff, two gal pals brought together through the derby. We meet our two main female leads as they are both in defining moments in a young woman’s life; one is experiencing being dumped for another woman, and the other is attempting to extract herself from under her parent’s thumb. They both find the derby and through the shared experience of training and trying out for a team, they become the definition of #squadgoals. Something really remarkable from Ribon is how much we like these ladies, which will come across whether or not you know anything about roller derby. Ribon does a tremendous job to show these women in ordinary, relatable life situations with overcoming a break up with a long-term partner and getting away from your parents. Even though the solution they seek is not so relatable, the main theme of finding your own identity and voice as a woman is a strong lesson every woman can relate to.
The great girl power message is only strengthened through the art we get in this issue. Illustrations from Fish, colors from Peer, and letters from Campbell bring this scrappy narrative to life with bright colors, exuberant page layouts, and tons of fun details. This issue goes to painstakingly detail to show the effects the derby life can have on a girl as this first issue showcases both Jennifer and Maisie in their pre-derby and post-derby lives. The facial expressions, body language, even hair styles are all influenced from the derby and the art here gets it so right. The action we see in the rink and out is beautifully laid out with electric colored backgrounds that give you the impression of being inside a roller rink. Only real downer in this issue is the lack of brutality and punishment inside the rink, we see just a glimpse of what future issue will surely show.
Just a friendly reminder, this is another awesome comic about kick-ass women created by some kick-ass women. It is so nice to see the uptick is great comics that just happen to be centered on women that also happen to be written and drawn by women. Aside from wanting to support female creative teams, comic lovers will enjoy this story because this book has a lot of charisma that cannot be ignored. Even looking at the cover, which is a close up of Jennifer in full derby gear, all bloody after an apparent derby match, this book is hard to pass over on a shelf full of comic books. The girl power message throughout this first issue is a subtle one, but the clear message from this first issue is there are plenty more good stories to come from this derby rink.