Grab your chunky cell phone and fire up that “world wide web,” because Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is here! Will Chris be accepted into the clandestine cabal? What is their real goal? Is it good?
When Chris swallows her apprehension and agrees to bloody her knuckles with the rest of Vinyl Mayhem’s associates, they get to work on figuring out what happened to Rosie Riot of Stegosaur. This fight club doesn’t fight each other, they fight injustice!
With some cheese fries on the side. When Maggie asks Chris to the diner, it conjures more butterflies than dealing with sarcastic goth girl Dolores. Is it a date? Or just two kids coming together to take down the patriarchy? No time to find out, have to beat up those intruders, who just MIGHT know a little about what happened to Rosie.
Yeah, yeah, plot advancement, forget that — the highlight of Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is FOOD HANDS. Ya know, when you’re not sure what you want to eat, so you pantomime holding different foods until the answer comes to you?
Okay, well, trust me, writer Carly Usdin explains it better than I do. And it reinforces that Hi-Fi Fight Club is a quirky, historical teen drama first and everything else second. The reveal that the staff don’t actually fight each other is a bit of a letdown, but at least there is a purpose.
Artist Nina Vakueva does a fine job depicting food hands, and giving Chris the appropriate facial expressions for each of the various meal choices. Quit laughing, this is genuinely good stuff!
Of course there’s more than just that, like the thinly-sliced varieties of “nervous” Chris displays. The manga-like style is still effective for the tone of the story, and while most of the panel structure is pretty mundane, Vakueva switches it up to accentuate action.
Rebecca Nalty’s colors help make each character distinct, and keep the story bright. The pinks for flashbacks and paler colors at night do the trick in denoting the change in context.
Not as much happens in Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 as in the first issue, but maybe that’s okay. The plot is advanced well enough that the book ends on a cliffhanger, but the real point here is to show Chris’ awkwardness and the typical teenage feelings that result.
It’s a new twist on an old theme, but not quite that new. It might be admirable to fight the patriarchy, but that subtext was already there, and maybe didn’t need to be stated and shown so overtly. Following through on the “Fight Club” ideal, while stilling remaining bright and poppy, might have accomplished the same thing in a more nuanced and unexpected way.
Still, Hi-Fi Fight Club #2 is an enjoyable and visually-stimulating take on teen life in the ’90s, that’s applicable at any time.
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