Ah excellent, more artistic talents for me to fawn over. Seriously the art in Fence is amazing and it just makes me miss drawing so, so much. Who knows, maybe I’ll pick up the pencil again one day. But anyway, back to the review!
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 also 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.
Underdogs! I love a good underdog, especially when it seems like they’ve got a bit of a Tragic Backstory… and Nicholas seems to have one of those. Shunned by his biological father, Nicholas has had to struggle to get to where he is. Trading cleaning for training sessions, he’s managed to become quite a good fencer – enough to enter the regional circuit to try and qualify for national competitions. Unfortunately, on his very first bout he comes up against the mysterious Seiji, known for beating every single one of his opponents – usually with a perfect score. When Nicholas loses, he vows to beat him one day. Six months after the match, he is given that chance – when he starts at Kings Row school and is paired with Seiji as his roommate!
The art, as I’ve already said, is stunning. Bold, blocky colours, and strong panels make this a good fun read. Although a little on the short side – meaning I’ll have to wait forever for the next volume -, Fence was a really good read. There’s plenty of mystery surrounding the characters; why is Seiji so driven? Why was Nicholas outcast as a child? What is the deal with Seiji’s past? It’s definitely a drive to keep me reading the series.
Nicholas seems like a really well-written character – we see his blind determination to beat Seiji, as if he wants to prove something to himself and also to his father. There also seems to be a bit of jealousy towards his half-brother, who is able to bask in the glow of knowing his father and having access to the best fencing training imaginable. It’ll be interesting to see how Nicholas grows, and whether he is able to put aside his jealousy or whether it’ll consume him.
Final thought: Bold art, bolder fencing bouts, this is an exciting start to a series! 4/5