Bully Wars #5 Review

Skottie Young, story
Aaron Conley, art
Jean-Francois Beaulieu, colors
Nate Piekos of Blambot, letters

This is the final issue of this mini. Rufus competes in The Bully Wars with the help of Spencer and his group of nerds. Hock, the reigning Bully Wars champion, has some help of his own and he seems to have Rufus cornered as this issue begins. Rufus does some quick thinking, deceives Hock, giving him and Spencer a split second to escape. However, Hock and his goons catch them and a brawl ensues. When it appears that Spencer will be torn in half by Hock and Rufus, Edith and her sidekick enter the fight with a Dodgeball Deathblaster 3000, which they use to beat down Hock allowing Rufus and Spencer to walk free and exit the contest as winners.

The most entertaining part of this story is the art and how it depicts this band of underdog nerds against an enormous bully and his cohorts. The graffiti style lettering showing “Bully Wars” on the walls is bombastic, colorful, and cool. The views of scenery filled with moldy lockers, dirty pipe-covered walls is earthy and realistic. The over-exaggerated size and forearms of Hock, the repeat winner of The Bully Wars, gives the impression that our heroes will never win. It makes it all the more satisfying when Rufus, Spencer and his cohorts fight back effectively. Skottie Young is known for his art. I love Fairyland, and you can feel his influences in this issue whose art is done by Aaron Conley. There is a fantasy-vibe but always grounded in authenticity.

The second most entertaining part of this story is the theme of the underdog and their fight against an overpowering opponent. While the dynamic between the nerds and the bullies is filled with cliche, bullies are big and ugly and nerds are small and ugly, it is still satisfying to see the nerds let go of their own personal safety and bond around a common goal. It is interesting to see a bully, Rufus, experience a role-reversal and experience the other side – being the bullied and learning from the lesson and even identifying common ground. For example, at the end of the issue Rufus and Spencer connect with a shared interest in the same comic book characters.

Overall = 8.5/10

Final Impressions

The Bully Wars has been a fun-filled romp, with a few twists, with a nice message. The story provides insight into the idea that we can overcome our weakness if we can find common ground with others. I highly recommend this book as a coming of age tale for young people.

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Tom Zimm
I am a licensed clinical social worker and trauma therapist that works with children. I've been interested in comic book heroes since I was a young child. However, it's been in the last 3-4 years that I've been making the weekly trip to the local comic book store to redeem my pull list. DC's Rebirth really won me over, especially Geoff Johns' 80-page book. My favorite properties include The Flash and The Incredible Hulk. My criteria for a good comic book include taking stupid and fun seriously while remaining self-aware.