Fence Volume 1 by C.S. Pacat + Johanna The Mad (Artist) + Joana Lafuente (Artist)
Publisher: Boom! Box (Boom Studios)
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Summary: Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.
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.
My Rating: ★★★★☆
My Thoughts: Fence Vol. 1 is a fast-paced, character-driven series that follows aspiring fencer Nicholas who wants to prove he has what it takes to make it as a champion! From the fencing, competitions, high stakes, complex character dynamics, and so much more, this is gearing up to be quite a series!
So if you’ve been following my blog, you may have already seen my review of Fence, issues 1-3 in January!
Because the single issues (for me) were getting a bit pricey, I decided to put the series on hold and wait for the first volume collection!
So with this essentially being a bit of re-read, (except for Issue 4), overall I loved Fence as much as I did the first time! There’s such an interesting (but rather slow) dynamic between Nicholas Cox, 16-year old who’s new to the world of competitive fencing and Seiji Katayama, fencing prodigy, who’s on his way to the championships and possibly getting a scholarship from Exton (the best fencing school in the country).
Nicholas hints that his father, Robert Coste, was a fencing champion in the 80’s but now has is with his what Nicholas calls “legitimate” son, Jesse Coste, who currently fences for Exton!
We follow Nicholas as he makes his way to his first match in a Connecticut circuit, but ultimately loses against Seiji! However, after a 15-0 loss, Nicholas vows to challenge him again, one day!
Six months later, Nicholas makes his way to the all-boys boarding school on a fencing scholarship, King’s Row and learns his roommate is none other than Seiji!
After issue 2, Fence introduces life at King’s Row, the fencing team, and the beginnings of Nicholas and his journey to prove himself as a fencer worthy of his spot at King’s Row!
Aside from Nicholas & Seiji, the other characters I love are Bobby (who becomes one of Nicholas’s good friends) & Dante, Bobby’s best friend! (They are my faves <3)
Fence is a pretty plot-driven series for the most part, fast-paced, & the story is incredibly immersive!
I also love how diverse Fence is! From characters of different ethnic backgrounds, such as black characters (coach Williams & Harvard–Fencing capitan), Seiji (Japanese), Kings Row fencers Eugene (Filipino) & Bobby (trans), and there’s also gay rep. hinted at, but more clearly shown in volume 3!
I also love how this series has characters from different economic backgrounds and (though a bit vague), shows differing family dynamics!
Now I did rate it (& issues 1-3) 4.5 on goodreads, but after this re-read I think for this review I’ll leave it at 4 stars (But, I’ll see how I feel after future volumes)... My critiques are: I’m not the biggest fan of one of the King’s Row fencers, Aiden (he reminds me a lot of a female character in Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun named Kashima, but I like Kashima better TBH <3!), the art-style could have been a little more detailed (in the backgrounds especially), and the side characters for the most part felt static.
Another thing I noticed from a re-read is that because some characters are static and the story is gearing in a direction that I’m looking forward to, it just feels a little too planned out! With the quick pace, it feels as if Fence is more setting up for whats going to come and not really lay the foundation for the story its giving us (if that makes sense)?
However, I will say what is really keeping me invested in this series, is where the story is headed exactly for Nicholas & Seiji!
But overall, Fence is such a delightful, character-driven series that is just fun all around! I definitely recommend checking it out!
Fence Vol. 1 will leave you wanting more! Its a character-driven series that is fast-paced, inclusive, while having a cast and story that easily immerses you! From fencing, boarding schools, rivalry, championships, friendships, & so much more, Fence is a must read series!