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Volume One

Book - 2018
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"Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama ... Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there's much more to fencing than just foils and lunges."--Page 4 of cover.
Publisher: Los Angeles, CA : BOOM! Box, 2018
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781684151929
Call Number: ygn PACAT 2018
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations ; 26 cm


From Library Staff

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself fa... Read More »

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Mar 12, 2021

** spoiler alert ** The book was meh, to be honest. If you're familiar at all with Shonen Sports Manga then you're pretty familiar with the tropes that Fence uses in it's storytelling. Except where Shonen Sports Manga tends to get ridiculously, uhm, shonen, & uhm, aggressive, & uhm, all Dragonball Z, high on super powers, Inazuma 11, crazy fantastic, Fence goes in the opposite direction treating it's characters & its story in a grounded, down to earth, serious, this could happen at any school anywhere, kind of way. That is one of the things that helps to just make this book, meh.

There's nothing extravagantly innovative about the storytelling. It doesn't help either that the book only contains the first four issues & nothing is resolved in the way of story. The book does in fact drop off with a major cliffhanger I suppose is supposed to make you come back for more. This technique works, except here, where the characters are bland stand-ins for shonen, sports, manga boys. Seiji the hard core jerk getting the cover doesn't help things.

Storywise, you have a young boy from the wrong side of the tracks who has 'potential', but mostly passion more than any actual skill. He goes up against, the hard-core, favorite one who is greatest-of-them-all & knows it, Seiji, who--stop me if you've heard this before--is a total jerk, only too familiar with his skills & conceited enough to know it. They meet, they fight, the young punk gets knocked down a peg or two vowing revenge against the super-talented, conceited, jerk. Yay. Even the comics writers acknowledge the tropeyness of this in the comic itself as characters remark to themselves they have all said the same thing to Seiji at one point or another. Clearly, the creators are familiar with the Shonen Sports Manga they are trying to replicate & they are NOT going to fall for the same tropes. Except they already have, in the two main characters. -sighs-

By some contrivance, our hero doesn't have to actually work his way to the top of the finals to meet his rival (someone has been reading Haikkyu), it turns out that Seiji ends up at the same school as our hero & lo & behold by some other convoluted, heretofore unknown contrivance our heroes have a new shared rival. I'm bored at this point. Except the book is HEAVILY gay friendly. Like mega gay. Bobby who dresses up as a girl, is on the Fence team. For a while there I'm assuming that the fencing team is co-ed, but it's not. It's an all boys school. Then there's the character of Aiden who is a player. He dates (maybe more? Idk, we don't see) other boys in the fencing team then discards them like used tissues. So that at least makes the story somewhat more different making all the subverted homoeroticism prevalent in Shonen Sports Manga more overt, if still subverted by pushing it to the characters in the background.
So yeah, the story is only meh.

The artwork is competent, if unpolished in places. I like it. I understand the need to get a book out on a monthly schedule but I for one say, forget the American comic book making system. If you're going to emulate manga, go all the way. Hire yourself a studio. Perhaps if the book came out more frequently it could get put together in larger trades & something akin to a story might be available. Four issues in, you've got decompressed storytelling & nothing to show for it. I wouldn't even call it one episode of a show.

So while the artwork is competent, it is also dull. It looks like it is a collection of an amateur online comic. It just isn't flashy enough to be sports, & that may not be entirely the artist's fault as there isn't a lot of flashiness in the actual events in the comic. Here's hoping book 2 is better, but book 1 is not one I would buy, if you're even remotely interested in the subject or would like to see an Americanized sports comic then check it out of your library first to see if you like it. I didn't hate it, but it isn't making me go out for volume 2, either.

Jul 02, 2020

Really good graphic novel, I love the touch of gay in this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Jun 23, 2020

I would HIGHLY recommend this graphic novel!!! The art is amazing, it just got better and better each page I turned.

KyCCL May 29, 2020

If you like fencing, or stories about boarding schoos, or rivalry between teammates, or bright, fantastic, illustrations that throw you in to the middle of the story, then Fence is something you should read. There's a diverse cast of characters - mixed race, gender expression, skill sets - and although this is only the first in the series, the different personalities are beginning to shine through. This was a fantastic read. I highly recommend it.

JCLBrittanyC Feb 07, 2020

I’m not exactly certain why I didn’t read this one sooner, but I’m glad I finally got my hands on it. This story follows Nicholas a “scrappy, fencing wunderkind, who dreams of getting a chance to train and compete.” As soon as Nicholas competes in his first fencing competition, he learns quickly that he has a lot to learn. When he receives a scholarship to a local school for fencing, he begins to learn that there is much more to fencing than he thought. This graphic is your classic feel good, it has your rivals, romance, and teens just trying to figure things out. If you want to give graphics a shot, I would definitely reach for this one, it is a quick easy read that can introduce you to the world of graphics!

Jan 16, 2020

I went into this series skeptical, because the setup and premise has been done - and done well - far too many times before. Let's orphaned street mutt of ambiguous heritage with an initially-vague connection to a famous and talented parent, a rich Asian bastard prodigy, a skill that sets them as rivals against each other, a rivalry that becomes a frenemy-style relationship that makes each of them better people...yep, been there, read that.

However, by the end of this volume, I was able to close the book with a definitive, "Okay, you have my attention." Joanna LaFuente's expressive but simplified art style pairs well with an impactful story to hit all of the marks when and where it needs to without dragging things out unnecessarily or rushing past points that need to be clarified. Using the art of fencing as the background for the story adds a novel spin for seasoned readers.

RandomLibrarian Jul 25, 2019

Review excerpt: "'Fence' is a manga-inspired comic about the fencing team of a high school boarding school. The story includes sexual and ethnic diversity, a secret half-brother, class division, and passionate rivalry between two teammates who loathe each other and are therefore, inevitably, randomly chosen to be roommates. The authors have promised romance, and while so far none has been forthcoming, if the roommates do not become lovers in the very near future I will be amazed. This review is of Volume 1, which collects issues 1-5."

JCLHebahA Jul 12, 2019

Fascinating glimpse into the world of competitive fencing with compelling characters. Hoping for more of the promised slow-burn romance in later installments. Also, you might want to have volume 2 on hand when you read this one--it ends rather abruptly.

JessicaGma May 07, 2019

It's a slow burn of a story, setting up for a showdown later. I learned a lot about fencing, as per the title. The art is top-notch!

Feb 01, 2019

I know this is aimed at teens, but coming from Pacat (whose previous books have all been wall-to-wall explicit content) I was expecting at least *some* romance and/or sex. And it’s just not there. It’s a straight-up story about competitive fencing (though to be fair there’s nothing to rule out romance down the line). It’s not that it isn’t well done, but it wasn’t what I wanted and was expecting.


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Jan 16, 2020

ArtistBettyAnne thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Jan 16, 2020

Sexual Content: There's no explicit sexual content yet, but it's pretty clear from implied content that there will be visible relationships down the line and possible explicit content later.


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