Fence Vol. 2 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna The Mad (Artist) & Joana Lafuente (Artist)
Publisher: BOOM! Box (Boom Studios)
Release Date: January 15, 2019
Available Through The Book Depository: Fence Volume 2
Cover Illustration: Johanna The Mad
Summary: Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place on the Kings Row fencing team, alongside sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama, to win the right to go up against his golden-boy half-brother.
Tryouts are well underway at King’s Row for a spot on the prodigious fencing team, and scrappy fencer Nicholas isn’t sure he’s going to make the grade in the face of surly upperclassmen, nearly impossibly odds, and his seemingly unstoppable roommate, the surly, sullen Seiji Katayama. It’ll take more than sheer determination to overcome a challenge this big!
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ¾
My Thoughts: Fence Vol. 2 is a fun and fast-paced continuation to the series! Tryouts at King’s Row force both Nicholas and Seiji overcome challenges as they work towards finding their place on the team! This volume focuses on the deeper, emotional sides of the characters and what’s at stake if they don’t make the cut!
Fence is one of the first comic series that really motivated me to pick up more single issues as it got released weekly in 2018! I’ve reviewed the first 3 issues and Volume 1 on the blog and felt this was a series that would really draw me in with its complex characters and unique story. After reading this volume, I can’t say for sure whether I love this series as much anymore, but I’ll admit it is a lot of fun!
What all readers can appreciate about this series is how interesting, fast-paced and fun the story is! Everything feels heightened, dramatic, but that’s what makes it super enjoyable.
Nicholas is struggling to find his place on the King’s Row team, but as tryouts continue he gets the push he needs to finally be a more focused fencer. While Seiji on the other hand, is starting to struggle. I liked that contrast between the two and it made for an interesting arc in this volume. My favorite characters definitely include Bobby & Dante, but I feel that it’s Seiji and Nicholas’s dynamic that’s keeping me invested in this series!
We get more of a glimpse into Seiji’s past and his connection to Jesse―that moment really surprised me, but it was one of my favorites. Another one included finally seeing Nicholas find his ground in fencing and I appreciated that we as the reader get to note his dynamic energy and have it shine through. It’s clear he has the skills and he’s not yet perfected them, but this volume showcased his potential to be a better fencer! A major story arc was definitely seeing the matches and who’d be paired with Nicholas & Seiji.
This volume mainly focuses on the tryouts alongside the development and interactions between 2 characters, such as Nicholas & Bobby, Seiji Vs. Aiden, Adien & Harvard, etc. It’s in the way this series highlights how two characters bounce off each other and the moments they share that always leaves you wanting more!
However, I still feel like the pacing of this series moves way too quickly, while at the same time it can feel like not much is even happening. There’s not any major plot progression other than the tryouts and I can kind of sense Pacat’s plan, but so far this volume all just felt like build up. The story always feels like its ending too soon, even when realistically not too much has happened yet.
As for characters, I like them all and their enjoyable, but they still feel a bit static (and Aiden continues to be my least favorite). Again, I liked the more quiet, personal moments with Harvard, Seiji, even Nicholas. But with a mix of static personalities (characters that need more development), minimal plot progression and a story that seems stuck, its starting to get difficult for me to feel super attached to these characters (aside from my favorites) and their journey.
But of course there were moments that stood out to me, so I’ll highlight some of my favorites: ↠ Seeing a moment of Seiji’s past when he & Jesse were young fencers together
↠ Nicholas better focusing on his fencing
↠ Bobby being happy to get advice from Seiji ❤
↠ Getting more into Seiji’s character
Now onto more critiques! While I really appreciate that the art gives a lot of focus to particular characters or certain emotions at intense moments, the art itself is still rather simplistic and I find that the backgrounds have barley any detail. In some scenes it makes the school feel empty. As a positive though, the art looks more suited to be animated for a cartoon adaptation, especially with how extremely fast the story goes.
The paneling felt a bit off in this one too. The pages were presented with a lot of wasted space, odd cropping choices, and with the big panels, there’s a lot of full page art that never really ended up adding a whole lot to the story, in my opinion. There can definitely be more room for background detail, more panels, and dialogue.
Overall though, I’m interested in seeing where the story is headed because it truly is just a fun, entertaining series with an interesting cast of characters and mystery as to where their journey at King’s Row is headed!
Fence Vol. 2 is a solid continuation to the series! There’s more time spent between characters, developing the more personal moments. The cast has somewhat of a clearer focus as to their own personal stories, with much more hinted at in future volumes. Nicholas and Seiji’s dynamic really takes the stage in this volume! With mystery, fencing rivalry, and a fast-paced story, this series always leaves you wanting to know what happens next!
I’m also shouting out a fellow book blogger review today😍📚🤺
As a 5-star review, Autumn goes into detail as to how this series completely stole her heart, the rivalries between the team, and how connected she feels to the characters! I also love the chapter-by-chapter breakdown, it reminded me of even more details in the series I forgot! If your a fan of this series, check out Autumn’s fabulous review (it even includes a great bookstagram) 📸💞