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'Toxic Summer' #1 is hilarious sci-fi summer fun
Oni Press

Comic Books

‘Toxic Summer’ #1 is hilarious sci-fi summer fun

‘Toxic Summer’ #1 mixes horror and well paced comedy.

If Toxic Summer teaches you anything, it’s that sometimes you need to lay back, unwind, and ignore the unnerving signals of impending doom. Through these moments, creator Derek Charm draws out the laughs as two friends try to make the best of a truly toxic summer. The first issue is out this week, and it’s a charming first issue that’s funny, the perfect summer read, and has all the makings of a great B-movie horror.

Toxic Summer is a story about two friends, Ben and Leo, who want to go all-out on summer break and kiss cute hunks. Leo is super dramatic, and it’s his idea to become a lifeguard at a beach that he swears is crawling with hunky dudes. Ben is quieter and much more reasonable, but he agrees to the plan. They soon discover the beach, once populated with babes and hunks, is crawling with toxic waste. It’s up to them to clean it, with nary a hunk in sight.

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Even though this is a three-issue series, this first issue is 48 pages long and jam-packed with fun character moments, toxic reveals, and plenty of comedy. Leo’s grandmother is a bit of a partier without a care in the world. Her relaxed demeanor plays well off the truly dangerous situation the friends are in. Given the toxic waste, you’d think there’d be some concern, especially when they’re sloshing through it.

Charm draws a lot of comedy out of Leo’s dramatic nature with cartoony visual gags. In one scene, Leo notices Leo talking to a cute boy and zips across the room so fast that a newspaper he holds flutters like a gust of wind hitting them. A reoccurring gag is an extreme close-up of the eyes of characters as if to convey danger or suspicion, but immediately, things calm down in the next panel. They’re spending their time on the beach, so what’s the worst thing that could happen?

'Toxic Summer' #1 review

Best. Summer. Ever.
Credit: Oni Press

While Leo is super extra, Leo is easy to relate to and commiserate with. He didn’t ask for this summer but will make the best of it. He’s also levelheaded and logical, while Leo has decision-making skills that create more problems.

The general flow of the story is well-paced, with opportune double-page splashes and dynamic range with environments. The use of color during a sunset scene is quite cool, with greens primarily used broken up by orange and yellow light. The style is simple with thin lines, yet there’s a dynamism with the play of backgrounds and small details like water dripping off someone.

Charm’s art style is clean, unlike what you’d see in Archie Comics. Although the characters are similar in age, they all have a different look and vibe that sets them apart. The colors pop extremely well, with some pages practically looking glow in the dark. They’re so vibrant. This issue also has a ton of fabulous covers.

Toxic Summer captures the vibrancy of youth with plenty of sludgy horror dumped over it. The characters are electric and super fun while they battle to nab hunks, regardless of toxic monsters lurking in the shallows. Considering this issue is highly entertaining without monsters arriving just yet, and this is a bonafide must-read.

'Toxic Summer' #1 is hilarious sci-fi summer fun
‘Toxic Summer’ #1 is hilarious sci-fi summer fun
Toxic Summer #1
Toxic Summer captures the vibrancy of youth with plenty of sludgy horror dumped over it. The characters are electric and super fun while they battle to nab hunks, regardless of toxic monsters lurking in the shallows. Considering this issue is highly entertaining without monsters arriving just yet, and this is a bonafide must-read. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
9.3
Tons of funny moments
Characters are entertaining and easy to relate to
Good slow burn with the sci-fi and horror elements...
...though my impatience desires more monsters!
9.5
Great
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