Title: Pride High #7: “Spring Forward”
Story & Letters: Tommy Roddy
Cover & Pencils: Robert Rivera
Inks & Colors: Polawat Darapong
“Spring Forward” is an apt title for Issue #7 of Tommy Roddy‘s groundbreaking comic book Pride High. In addition to a swift progression in the school year at Poseidon Preparatory Academy for Heroic Youth, the writing and artwork take the series a major leap forward in terms of storytelling and visuals. When last we saw our heroes in Issue #6 (“Kid Gloves”), Pride High had just trounced the Argonauts in the Inter-Squad Championships at school and were getting ever-closer to unraveling the mystery of Mindsweeper‘s death. “Spring Forward” picks up immediately after, with Kid Olympus again managing to be in the right place at the right time to save Kid Mischief‘s life. The gang soon realizes that as much as they’d like to stay out of trouble and enjoy the school year, there are darker forces at work, drawing them deeper and deeper into a dangerous battle.
The portrayal of the relationship between opponents and rivals Kid Mischief and Kid Olympus has been a high point of the entire series. Clearly, something is going to happen between these guys, but Roddy plays the tension, subtleties and complexities of the relationship realistically, and understands these things take time, as well as many transformations and incarnations along the way. Roddy’s confidence in his characters has grown since previous issues, and it shows. The sparse dialogue and narration is tight, and there’s as much interest in what is left unsaid as what is spoken. This is not a book that feels the need to over-explain or comment on its own cleverness. Roddy trusts his characters, and clearly trusts his readers, since not a single word is wasted. This is no easy feat, and the artwork contributes greatly to bringing a new-found depth to this series. In case I’ve made this issue sound somehow darker and more serious than it is, let me assure you the Pride High wit and humor is in ready supply and benefits tremendously in execution thanks to the artwork. Robert Rivera‘s illustrations and Polawat Darapong‘s coloring bring these familiar characters to life in a whole new way. Expressive and layered, the art is tied beautifully to the text, filling in the emotional ellipses in Roddy’s writing. It’s a wonderful combination of word and visuals, and I’m hoping we see this team again in future issues.
Pride High is available through the official site or from IndyPlanet.com. Or, if you’re very good and post the Pride High squad’s battle cry “For the out crowd!” in the comments section, I have three copies of “Spring Forward” to give away for free. So, don’t wait!