Action Lab’s Fight Like a Girl tells a familiar story. The main character must face incredible challenges to save the life of a loved one. We’ve seen this story across all mediums for centuries. It has almost universal appeal. After all, who wouldn’t do anything to save their loved ones? David Pinckney, along with artist Soo Lee, try to do something unique with their book. However, some technical issues prevent this issue from reaching its potential.
Fight Like a Girl follows Amarosa, a young woman on a desperate quest to save her little brother. The boy is terminally ill and there are no treatment options left. Amarosa goes before a council of nine deities to request entry into The Wishing Well. Once inside she will face nine opponents of increasing difficulty. If she manages to survive the nine battles she will be granted a single wish. The deities, a mixture of Roman, Greek, and Norse mythology, convene and decide she is worthy of entering the trials. There are hints that they may have ulterior motives for permitting the new entrant. Once inside she faces her first task: slaying a polysymbiote. This creature is capable of taking on any form it can imagine. Once she defeats the beast she will be granted entry to the next level.
Amarosa is probably the strongest part of the book. She’s a very likeable character with a good mix of selflessness and an almost cocky self-assuredness. Her interactions with the other characters are fun to read and she grounds a book that could easily be overstuffed with the fantastic. Pinckney successfully teases that there’s so much more to this character to be revealed in the coming issues and I can’t wait to discover what’s hidden beneath the surface.
The story is functional. It lays the groundwork for grand storytelling in future issues, but it didn’t feel like enough focus was placed on developing the setting in the present. I don’t want all of the secrets given away, but I would like a little bit more information about these nine deities. Why do they come from different mythologies? Why do they have a Wishing Well? I’m sure this will be addressed in the future, but I needed something now to keep me interested.
Lee does some great work in the book, especially with Amarosa’s character design. She’s always expressive and commands attention in the panels. The backgrounds are minimal, but stylish. Everything comes together to make a pretty looking book. The pacing is good here, while the layouts are fine for the most part. There were one or two pages that got a little too jumbled for my taste.
The main problem I had with the book were some of the technical issues. Some of the dialogue reads unnatural. It’s like they are trying to cram too much information into a single sentence. There are also minor errors throughout the book. For example, ‘to’ was written where ‘too’ should have been. The trials are once referred to as the trails. These are small errors, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be addressed. Each one detracts from the quality of the book.
I like Fight Like a Girl. I like its protagonist and I like the potential. That’s what makes the first issue a disappointment. It seems to glide where it could have soared. Hopefully the second issue can fix some of the problems. Fight Like a Girl #1 hits stores November 26, 2014.