Thursday, October 04, 2018

Reader's Diary #1924- Ngozi Ukazu: Check Please! Book 1 #Hockey

I've been reading a lot of graphic novels lately that explore themes of acceptance. In that same vein, I've been hearing wonderful things about Ngozi Ukazu's Check Please! Book 1: #Hockey a graphic novel about a former figure skater who is now on a varsity hockey team. He's also gay.

I'm not sure, however, that the theme was enough to ultimately win me over. In addition to the wonderful theme, there are other positives. Notably, the characters are all very richly defined. It's also quite fun.

But overall all, I found it to be uneven. In her introduction, Ngozi writes that she doesn't consider the book to be "Very Serious Art" and yet there were glimpses into the greatness that might have been. Bitty, the central character, is a vlogger. As an idea that's fine, but the panels showing him vlogging didn't do anything for me being way too simple. The background doesn't change and it's just him staring straight ahead while the speech balloons change. Then there are other scenes where Ngozi really proved her artistic chops: there's an overhead outdoors scene of a hockey game on a lake where the colouring is just beautiful, there are flashbacks of the team captain drawn in a different, vintage-looking style.

Most problematic for me though was the climax of the story which seemed rather obvious from the get go. Fortunately though this is the 1st in a series and now that the big reveal (which wasn't really a big reveal) is out of the way, I was drawn in enough that I'm curious what happens next.

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