Reviewer: Evelyn Finch
Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $2.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now
The New York Four was one of those titles that was not only relatable but also a convincing tale that made it so hard to want to stop reading. Then again, what would you expect from Brian Wood who has given us comic books worth reading like DMZ or Northlanders and then there’s Ryan Kelly who never ceases to amaze in titles such as Local. So, as you can imagine, we have been excited about The New York Five #1 – a four-part sequel – and once again Wood and Kelly do not disappoint in the very least.
In the first part of the series, we are introduced to four very different young women who are living in New York City and attending NYU. All four girls have found a way to pay for books and tuition by way of a program run by the unseen Doctor Paka who records his therapy-like sessions with each of them. It was quite an interesting semester and a lot has happened to these four women in that term as well as the winter break.
The first issue of The New York Five takes place in the start of their second semester as we learn – through their eyes as well as Doctor Paka’s sessions – that the aftermath of the events in the first semester have taken its toll on two of the girls in particular. Starting with Riley Wilder, spent her break hiding in her apartment, has not heard from her sister, Angie. She blames the good-looking Frank – Angie’s boyfriend – for coming between her and Angie and thus souring the relationship between siblings.
As it turns out, though, Riley continues to watch her sister from afar and is glad that her sister’s band – Wilder – is quickly gaining in popularity. Her sister’s success and the fact that she got involved with her boyfriend now makes Riley the black sheep in the family and it’s rather upsetting that now the Riley-Angie-Frank triangle has ruined things between them.
Meanwhile, the Canadian-born Lona Lo, is still obsessing over the couple of B’s that Professor Adams has given her in English lit. This causes the young woman to dig into his trash to find his home address and go to his apartment in the upper West Side. She continues to do so as her roommates begin to wonder what is going on in that head of hers. Her story is certainly getting more interesting and creepy to the point that Lona has now become one of the best characters in this series.
This first issue even touches bases with Ren Severin who – on the surfaces – seems to be one of the more well-adjusted of the ladies. She’s the only one really trying to get Lona out of her obsession (and the second bathroom that she turned into her personal dark room) and she seems to be steering towards older men … particularly one who seems to have a child.
Then there’s Merissa Vasquez who walks off with Tupperware filled with homemade food only to hand it to a cute homeless girl who has often seen her around. Merissa has some major problems, one of them being his brother Omar who has mental issues and goes crazy at work. On top of that, she often misses sessions with Doctor Paka, which results in something unexpected to her in the Doctor’s office.
Oh, there’s more and most of it centers on Riley and in the final page we are left with a surprising visit that will certainly complicate things in the next issue. As I said in the beginning, Wood and Kelly do not disappoint. Leave it to Brian Wood flesh out these character to the point that you’ll feel actually come to identify with their problems and their feelings. Then again, Wood has always been great creating character you can relate to and actually come to really like.
Then there’s Ryan Kelly whose art looks tantalizing in black and white that I secretly believe that it would have been ruined if they had been colored. It’s beautifully detailed art with expressive characters and, of course, New York City that is basically another character in this book. Both Wood and Kelly clearly have a fondness for the Big Apple.
The New York Five will draw you quickly back into the story and manage to impress just as easily as it did when the first half of the series was introduced to us. This first issue features the same great writing and brilliant artwork so if you’ve been looking for a very human story with a cast of very interesting characters then The New York Five #1 is a comic you should definitely consider checking out.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
It’s the start of the second semester for the four New York City college students who are still a part of Doctor Paka’s study but find themselves reflecting on the events that transpired before and during their break. With Lona obsessing over a couple of B’s her professor gave her and Riley still troubled over her problem between her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, Frank.
The black and white style definitely suits this comic and even more so thanks to Ryan Kelly’s superb and beautifully detailed art. Kelly’s characters seem to look just as unique as Brian Wood envisioned them.
If you thought the first installment was a brilliantly conceived and completely absorbing work then The New York Five is a four-part series that deserves your attention immediately. As the characters reach their second semester, their lives become even more complicated and a whole lot more interesting. This is yet another achievement for Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly.
Review copy provided by Vertigo (DC Comics)