Writing - 7/10
Art - 7.5/10
Overall - 7.3/10
User Review( votes)
20 Fists TPB
Writer: Frankee White
Artist: Kat Baumann
Letterer: DC Hopkins
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: Kickstarter indie comic
Release Date: Out Now
The Big Jackets and The No Names, two gangs in the 20 Fists Fight League. People that like to fight get their fill here. But what happens when two members fall in love?
Fist Fly in 20 Fists TPB
The trade paperback of 20 Fists collects the first three issues of the self-proclaimed “three-chapter black and white comic best described as a queer Romeo & Juliet meets The Warriors”. So, if anything mentions The Warriors I am automatically in. What 20 Fists delivers is a romantic fight story. Rival “gangs” of five members each (20 fists, you get it?) get together and duke it out every once in a while. The rules are no deaths, five fighters per crew, no cops. You win by knocking out all the rival team’s members.
The Big Jackets have a crew that may be the best in the business, but the scrappy new gang calling themselves the No Names lies down for nobody. But what happens when Billie of the Big Jackets falls in love with Chel from the No Names? Do they still fight? What do their crews think about this? A tale of romance, love, heartbreak, and fights all comes together in 20 Fists.
Frankee White writes 20 Fists and brings us into this wild love story, when Billie falls in love with Chel while she is pummeling someone’s face in. It was love at first “fight”. White delves into a familiar love story. Two rivals falling in love: it is a tale as old as time and White makes it a pretty interesting one. White fleshes out their story in a bit of a flashback tale as we see they are broken up at the beginning of the series. Then we see how they fell in and out of love as the story unfolds.
I think all of that is done well in 20 Fists. When we start getting into the whole “fight club” gang thing is where it gets a little shaky. For one this whole 20 Fists fight league needs just a little bit more explaining in the book besides the “rules”. Are there more gangs? Why are they doing this? Why did a random crowd show up? Etc… It all just needs like an extra line or two of explanation to get me fully encapsulated in this world.
Plus, if you are going to tease me with “themed” gangs, The Warriors style, then I need more than one gang with a theme (The Ballad of Sang did this perfectly). “The Big Jackets” all wear big jackets, I’m on board. “The No Names” got to have some type of theme as well, plus, again, I just need to see or a mention of some others. We don’t need a lot, just a tiny bit extra to fill out this world.
Tight and cohesive dialogue throughout the book is a strong point. It all feels very real and visceral as the story unfolds through the issues.
Kat Baumann delivers the art in 20 Fists. Some fantastic linework from Baumann. There is tons of details throughout this series that Baumann shines in delivering. The characters are all superbly well done. Delightfully well-done character design. Characters all have fantastic individual looks, and the clothing is nicely done. Again, Baumann would have shone doing some more themed “gang” members. Also, some beautiful background details as well.
There is a great shot of a Ferris wheel that is a great callback to The Warriors (if you haven’t figured it out, I love that movie). Baumann catches some wonderful details in it and just the shot itself is great. The angle and setup are fantastic. With all the great work Baumann delivers, I do wish the action flowed better.
In a series titled 20 Fists and basically centered around fighting, the fights are probably the least interesting thing, visually. The battles just lack impact, motion, and the general chaos that should be between 10 people fighting each other (just check out Russian MMA team fights). A great two-page spread is featured toward the beginning of the story. Baumann catches the chaotic energy perfectly in that scene. But the other battles just lack energy to them.
I think a lot of things work well in 20 Fists, and just a few things throw it off course. The love story, characters, and people are all great and interesting. Just that this whole fight league and world needed a bit more added to it. It just brought me out of the story at times. Maybe just one more issue, since this was three issues, would have helped bring more light to what it is and would have helped expand a bit more on the characters of Billie and Chel.
Lots to love about the art. But in a book centered around an underground fight league, you’ve got to bring the action, and that is where the art stumbles. Just a lack of impact and motion in the fight scenes kind of takes the air out of the series.
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