Comics: The Mall #0 - Reviewed

Life as a high schooler can be really hard. It can be extra hard when you’re a shy, somewhat awkward nerdy boy with a penchant for video games. Take that and add to it the revelation that your mafia boss biological father just passed away, leaving you a portion of his criminal enterprise as an inheritance, and you’re going to have one hell of a high school career. That story is where The Mall issue 0 picks up.

Scout Comics will be releasing this preview issue of their new series, The Mall, for Free Comic Book Day on Mary 5, 2018. The “issue zero” of this series introduces us to quirky, sweet Diego as he struggles to find his footing in this new found position of power while still dealing with the normal, everyday life of a regular teenage boy. Writers Don Handfield and James Haick III do an excellent job with the introduction of the first set of characters in this issue. Set in the 1980s, this series will have older readers reminiscing about their childhoods, and a newer generation getting a glimpse into the fact that things really haven’t changed all that much when it comes to being a teenager in the world. The description of the series on their Facebook page hints at the fact that Diego is not the only illegitimate child of the crime lord, thus we should expect to see more of them introduced in coming issues. The preview issue of The Mall absolutely knocked it out of the park for me. It was fun, it was engaging and the characters a mixture of realism, humor and 80s style which I think will certainly appeal to any reader. Scout Comics continues to do an excellent job in their selection of comics that they release and this is another one in a long line of fantastic reads that I have come across from them.

The art, done by Rafael Loureiro is superb and completely captures the overall 80s vibe of the comic. The line work is crisp and clean and the attention to detail very noticeable in his work. I love the way the characters are drawn. His work has a bit of a Fiona Staples’ quality to it, which I think works well for a story that is young and fresh and full of teenage characters. Colorist Dijjo Limo brings such vibrancy to this comic; every page is bright and full of life. Even in panels where the background is rather stagnant or lacking detail, splashes of color are utilized keeping this piece consistently visually interesting.

The preview issue of The Mall certainly exceeded my expectations. The idea behind this story is one that I think readers of any generation can follow and enjoy, though I kind of love the fact that it’s probably advertised a bit more for a younger crowd. Giving teens a variety of stories and plots to read about is something that Scout does really well with their comics. Superheroes are great, but they aren’t for everyone. Bringing life to stories that people can relate to with characters that are going through struggles that they can relate to is super important when writing a book marketed more for adolescents, and The Mall is absolutely one that is sure appeal to a vast variety of young readers.

-Rachel Rutherford