Slam! #4 ComicWow! Review

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I really like this series because it sheds light on a sport that not many people know about and is often times judged. Pamela Ribon shows us a side of Roller Derby that we probably don’t know—the personal side. CanCan and Knockout are two great Roller Derby girls who used to be best friends. After they were drafted by different teams, their relationship took quite a big hit—so much so that they can’t even talk to each other anymore.

During a bout in the semi-finals, though, Knockout did just that—knocked CanCan out. With time left on the clock, Knockout did her friendly duty and carried her former bff out of the stadium and on her way to the hospital.

To start things off, both Knockout and CanCan complain about each other to their respective teams. It’s not petty stuff about how they are jerks or cowards, but how they wish the other would still talk to them. Seriously? One of you just make a move and the other will follow. This isn’t a rivalry or even a matter of staying “true” to your team. It’s honestly really dumb but sadly the truth of what happens to a lot of relationships—drifting. You could be best friends for a few months, go away on vacation for two, and come back to a complete stranger. The good part about Knockout and CanCan is that they still haven’t become strangers; they talk like old friends and it’s beautiful.

Ribon’s writing tells the story well, but leaves out certain aspects that the series would benefit from. We know that Knockout and CanCan used to be friends, and we briefly saw their personalities early on in the series, but we don’t spend enough time alone with each of them to really acquire any sense of sympathy for them—we more so have sympathy solely for their relationship.

I’m stoked that Ribon shows all aspects of the sport, though. I mean, the beginning of the issue tells us how to play in a bout. We get the rules of the game as well as what not to do. We get to see both teams in action, with a lot of teamwork in play. It’s great to see how these groups function, both as individuals and as a whole.

Veronica Fish’s illustrations tell the story well, but have a rather little amount of detail. Some of the artwork is a little bit inconsistent, like the sheer size and muscle mass of Knockout as well as other players’ facial expressions/features. Nonetheless, the story is quite easy to follow and fun to look at. This is in large part thanks to Brittany Peer’s colors. She goes for a solid mix of both realistic and unrealistic color schemes. The vast majority of the artwork gets transformed into pop art after Peer puts her touch on the inking. With solid colors for characters, wardrobes, and backgrounds, we can see where our focus is trying to be drawn, and this is a creative way to do it.

For Roller Derby fans and BOOM! Studios readers, this is definitely a must-read. The series is getting interesting, and I’m hoping both the main characters have a bit more to go through so we can identify with them a little. In terms of their friendship, it has just been rekindled, so the possibilities are endless as to what kind of trouble they can get into together! This is all, of course, only if CanCan doesn’t have a massive concussion from that Knockout tackle. But who knows? We’ll just have to read and see!

Written by: Pamela Ribon

Illustrated by: Veronica Fish