I cannot tell you how excited I’ve been for the release of Flavor Girls. I’ve been following Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky on Twitter for a while now after seeing his art cross my feed one day. I’m pretty sure it was a series of drawings of a vampire girl facing off against horrors from the dark. Along with those pictures came a different series of images, focusing on a curious set of fruit-themed magical girls. Ever since that day, I’ve longed to see the story Locatelli-Kournwsky had planned for those girls, and now that day has finally come, with Flavor Girls now hitting the shelves of your LCS.
Flavor Girls is a sci-fi/fantasy comic focusing on four women charged with protecting the Earth from the Agarthian Legion, an alien species that seemingly only communicates in violence. The girl’s powers come from the Mother Tree, a mysterious power that spawns “sprouts” capable of transforming a person into a spectacularly powerful magical girl.
Sara is the newest recruit to this war, receiving the gift of pineapples during an attack by the Agarthians. She serves as our “in” to this cosmic conflict, a fresh face with a fresh perspective. She’s not a fan of violence which is very interesting considering this is a sci-fi action comic, and I hope to see it developed more in the coming issues. She wasn’t the only Flavor Girl introduced in this issue, though. We also met the rest of the team, consisting of the whimsical Camille, a woman with the power of pomegranate, the mysterious and surly ‘V’, blessed with the power of an artichoke, and the team leader, Naoko, gifted with the power of dragon fruit. (She’s also the best dressed of the entire team, teal and navy with red accents is such a good color combination for a costume, and Eros de Santiago did a wonderful job coloring it.)
In the supporting cast, there’s Master Himiko, the knowledgeable mentor of the Flavor Girls and the Alliance of Sovereign States (also referred to as A.S.S.), the capitalistic comic relief with their own hidden agenda. There are a few more characters who didn’t quite get the chance to shine, but I expect will be very important in the future.
Out of everything in this jammed-packed issue, I’m going to say that my favorite has to be the character designs. I’ve always been a sucker for unusual fashion, so the Flavor Girl’s costumes consisting of shirts with huge melon sleeves and adorned with loud patterns tucked into booty shorts were like catnip to me (With the exception of V who wears a dark swimsuit with a magnificent green cape). In an era where every hero wears a slim-body suit with two flat colors, it’s more important than ever to stand out, and stand out, they definitely do! (P.S. if anyone can tell me where to buy boots like Camille, you’ll be my personal hero!)
The 56-page length was an excellent idea as well. The issue is segmented into three parts, a prologue and two actual chapters. This means that the introductory arc can be finished quickly, and we can really begin diving into the flesh of the story in the next issue.
The art is everything I was hoping for as well. Locatelli-Kournwsky’s style is very reminiscent of Ghibli movies mixed with French comics, and when you add Santiago’s soft but moody colors, it creates a story that is as beautiful as it is atmospheric. Locatelli-Kournwsky knows just when to cut the chatter and let the art speak for itself, creating several beautiful moments where very little is said, but the character’s faces tell it all. I’ve always appreciated comics that take full advantage of their artform. It feels like a bit of a lost art these days, being confident enough with visual storytelling that you don’t feel the need to hold the reader’s hands with dialogue. It’s something I really love in visual mediums and leaves me excited to see more of it in Locatelli-Kournwsky’s beautiful illustrations.
I was already hype when I first started reading this debut, and everything I read just intensified my excitement. Flavor Girls feels like an old-school western magical girl series a la W.I.T.C.H., but aimed at a much older audience. The magical girl genre has always been a favourite of mine, but recently I’ve felt like I’ve “aged out” the genre in a way. The media that isn’t made for children are tragedies more often than not, but Flavor Girls feels like it’s not only aimed at an older audiences, but in a way that tackles deeper subject matter while treating the girls with respect. It’s something the genre really needs and something I’ve hungered for for a long time.
The only problem I had with this debut is that I felt like there should’ve been more. We didn’t get to see much of the other girls in this issue, and most of it was spent explaining the world and giving Sara a reason to fight rather than diving into the characters. Even the Agarthians didn’t get much page space in favor of exposition, which after their dramatic introduction (Santiago coloring the sky a magnificent orange-red to emphasize the danger the moment they show up) is a real shame. But that’s a problem most sci-fi/fantasy comics have in the beginning, so I’m optimistic that Flavor Girls will start to pick up by the next time we see it.
With all that said, I can’t wait to see what Locatelli-Kournwsky and Santiago have in store for our next issue. There’s the mystery underlying the whole issue, and it’s a seriously intriguing one. What happened to the diplomacy team sent out all those years ago? What’s the history between the Mother Tree and the Argathian Legion (who, according to their namesake, may not be as alien as they appear)? What’s A.S.S.’s true agenda? And most importantly, what’s V’s real name?
Okay, that last part’s a joke, but I’m eagerly awaiting the next issue and the return of the four extraordinary Flavor Girls!
By Nea (@tittyvillus)