With Liv’s crisis averted, the team turns faces its last regular season game, but first we learn a bit more about Nicole and Tiffany. Every other member of the team has had some time in the spotlight, so I’m glad to see them getting some further development. This helps flesh out the group in between the basketball action.
I am continually impressed by how natural the characters in The Avant-Guards are. Writer Carly Usdin has made some very real people here. More importantly, they’re super relatable and just downright friendly. These are the people you’d want to hang out with. Each team member has their own unique personality, yet none of them are annoying or irritating.
What helps in this is how Usdin presents some real circumstances that people go through, even with their best friends. In Tiffany’s case, she has a famous father and she doesn’t want people to be friends with her just because of that, so she keeps it a secret. This is something that’s just for her, even though the rest of the team would support her.
This leads to one of the sweetest scenes the series has had to date as Tiffany speaks to her father over Skype. We’ve really only seen one side of her so far as she leans heavily into the Wiccan lifestyle. She comes across as a quirky witch, but there’s a lot more to her. Her relationship with her dad is adorable. When he pops up on the screen, it’s like she’s instantly turned into a little kid again.
I like how letterer Ed Dukeshire shows Tiffany’s dad’s speech through the computer. There’s a zig-zag tail to these word balloons that fits very well with his location.
Tiffany’s secret mirrors Nicole’s to an extent in that she’s keeping something from the team. The strength of the friendship between these two is shown by how they support one another. Tiffany respects Nicole’s wishes by not sharing it with the others and offers her own secret as a way to put Nicole at ease. By letting someone else in, the two are stronger for it.
Also, there’s basketball! I often forget about that some times thanks to the stellar character development. I still don’t really care much about the sport, yet artist Noah Hayes creates some exciting sequences that pull me in. They’re shown as montages with varied layouts that definitely add to the experience. I also like how diverse the characters are in these shots.
Colorist Eleonora Bruni adds to the welcoming tone of The Avant-Guards with a bright palette. This permeates through the entire comic. It makes the basketball scenes more engaging and the character driven ones more personal. There is no doom and gloom here.
The Avant-Guards is a perfect fit for the Boom! Box imprint. It’s diverse, warm, and an absolute delight month in and month out. The characters are relatable and fun to be around so it’s easy to get wrapped up in their lives and all the quirky aspects of them. I love this book.