Boom! Box has done it again! The Avant-Guards is a bright and charming comic series featuring a diverse cast of characters that’s right at home with the publishers growing catalogue of inclusive comics.
Charlie has just transferred to an Arts College, after losing her scholarship to a State University, and she almost immediately catches the eye of Liv Bates. This friendly and enterprising young woman is trying to put together a woman’s basketball team and she just needs one more member – and Liv wants that person to be Charlie. Charlie is the perfect candidate, she’s athletic and has plenty of experience playing basketball; there’s only one problem, Charlie doesn’t want to be part of a team.
The Avant-Guards is a story about friendship and finding one’s place. Charlie has been on a basketball team before but never felt like a part of the team, as she didn’t get along with the other members. We see her flip through an old yearbook in one scene and the pictures of her basketball team show a group of girls all having fun together, but Charlie isn’t in any of them. The only photo she’s included in is the one group shot that the whole team posed for. Charlie can be a bit standoffish, but the divide that existed between her and her old teammates might have had more to do with the fact that she suffers from anxiety. She experienced frequent panic attacks before away games and we can assume that her old team probably wasn’t very supportive. It got so bad for Charlie that she ended up sitting out her freshmen year at State and losing her basketball scholarship, which prompted her transfer to the art’s school. After going through all that, Charlie is naturally reluctant to sign up for what she believes will just be more of the same and she’s skeptical of Liv’s claims that this team will be different. But Charlie is lonely and Liv is persistent, not to mention pretty cute, so she eventually caves. Thus, the Avant-Guards are born.
The rest of the team is an eclectic bunch of loveable weirdos. Liv is the bubbly and indominable organizer behind the team, whose never-say-die attitude made the whole endeavor possible. Ashley is a prankster whose knee injury is currently preventing her from playing, so she acts as the team’s coach. Nicole is sarcastic and Liv’s ex-girlfriend (It seems to have been an amicable breakup, but Liv doesn’t appear to be entirely over her). Jay is the strong, quiet type and a fantastic artist. And last, but not least, Tiffany is a member of the local coven and isn’t above using magic to try and get Charlie to join the team, though she swears she wouldn’t dream of using spells to help them win a game. They’re a quirky, but kind group and they welcome Charlie with open arms. It seems like they might also be pretty good at playing basketball, though it could also just be that the other team they played against was bad. Their league is entirely comprised of arts and specialty schools, so I didn’t get the impression that the other team had a lot of experience. They’ve only played one game so far, so it might be too early to tell if the Avant-Guards have what it takes to dominate the court, but they’re more interested in having fun together as a team then they are in winning, and that seems like just the type of environment that Charlie needs.
This was a promising first volume of what is shaping up to be a fun and touching story of personal growth and friendship, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. The Avant-Guards appears to be a series that’s more focused on the characters than it is on sports, with the bulk of this volume concentrating on Charlie being convinced to join the team and the beginnings of a romantic flirtation between her and Liv. I personally enjoyed that the focus was on the relationships between the characters, but you might be disappointed if you’re hoping for a comic that’s all about basketball.
Final Score: 7.5 out of 10
For more information of The Avant-Guards, visit Boom! Studio’s website: http://www.boom-studios.com/series/avant-guards/
Let me know what you thought of The Avant-Guards in the comments below. If you’re interested in this comic, you might also want to check out my review of: Check, Please! Book One: #Hockey