Written by, Skottie Young
Art by, Aaron Conley
Colors by, Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Nate Piekos, Letters
Previously, Spencer and his group of nerdy friends devised a way for Rufus, the bully of their previous Jr. High, to enter the Bully Wars at their new high school. However, in the process, Spencer was caught and made the decoy in a rat suit that the bullies were required to catch to win the Bully War. In this issue, Spencer uses the technology he’s placed to both communicate with Eugene and Edith, as well as, find a way through the maze while avoiding bullies to exit the race and win the war. However, Hock, the reigning seven-time winner of the Bully Wars, has some tricks up his sleeve that makes escape treacherous for Rufus and his newly made friend, Spencer.
The story is very straightforward and doesn’t provide much depth. However, the art is easily the highlight of this issue. The maze of lockers, overgrown with weeds, is rustic and picturesque. The full panel spread showing Rufus in the walls, climbing toward his escape, fighting bullies along the way is beautiful. Even the full-panel displays of children vomiting and characters crawling through mounds of gunk are great to look at. Finally, the exaggerated faces, which show big emotions are cartoonish but interesting and bring character to the appearance of the book.
The story gets bogged down because it lacks layers or any kind of real depth. The idea that there are bullies who bully nerds and other bullies is not a novel one. When it comes to nerds finding a way to outsmart the non-thinking bully, well, that’s not a novel idea either. What could be interesting is the alliance that is formed between Rufus, the weaker bully, Spencer, and his group of friends. What are the commonalities between these two groups? Perhaps exploring shared experiences and shared traumas in a meaningful way could flush out more depth in this story. However, none of that is done here.
Overall = 7/10
Despite the story lacking depth, I recommend that readers grab this book because the art is amazing. It’s not common to find characters and settings drawn in this exaggerated manner that brings the whole story to life.