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New Comics on Pause - Goldie Vance Vol. 1 Review

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Goldie Vance Volume 1

Written by Hope Larson

Illustrated by Brittney Williams

Colors by Sarah Stern

Letters: Jim Campbell

Published by BOOM! Studios

Goldie Vance is a young adult mystery comic published by BOOM! Studios under their BOOM! BOX imprint. BOOM! BOX is BOOM's experimental imprint, dedicated to giving new and veteran comic creators a place to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things. This series follows Marigold "Goldie" Vance, a sixteen year old African American girl who lives with her father at Miami's Crossed Palms Resort. Goldie dreams of leaving her job parking cars as the hotel's valet and becoming the resort's in-house detective. The series features many unique supporting characters, including Goldie's mentor, detective Walter Tooey. In the first story arc, collected in this trade paperback, Goldie investigates the theft of a necklace from one of the guests at the resort.

Even though Goldie Vance is intended for a young adult audience, the storytelling is very sophisticated. This really isn't that surprising, as author Hope Larson excels at giving her characters unique voices. Larson specializes in creating strong, independent female characters, and that is evident the further one reads into this first volume. Although Larson does a great job developing all her characters, she puts a special focus on her female characters. They are unique and defined by their personal quirks and strengths, and not just by their given gender. While developing her characters, Larson also delivers a fun and fast paced mystery. Admittedly, its not the sort of mystery where the reader can follow the clues and figure out the solution alongside Goldie. However, it makes up for this with its originality. There were several unexpected moments throughout the story, including espionage and car chases. The ending takes an odd turn, that is near impossible to see coming. Which to me, is some of the highest praise one can pay to a mystery story.

Brittney William's art is a little cartoonish, but she draws each panel with great detail. The art and colors in this series remind me of the ads and title graphics for downloadable phone games. If this were any other series, I'm not sure how well this style would work, but it really fits with this story. William's artistic choices give each panel a sense of joy and excitement. Sarah Stern's color choices also mesh really well with William's drawings. Stern's colors give Goldie's world a bright glow, making the story feel like it really is taking place in Miami.

Honestly, I'm not sure what qualified Goldie Vance to be published under an experimental imprint. The creative team has worked in the comic book industry for years. Though the art has a cartoony feel, BOOM! publishes many comics based on actual cartoons, so this title doesn't seem all that out of the ordinary. Even with its surprising twists, the story amounts to a regular mystery. Although none of these things seem very experimental, they do combine to form a really fun comic, suitable for all ages, that features strong female characters. This series might not hold everyone's attention, especially those readers who are used to more mature material. But for those who enjoy young adult stories, or just a good mystery, Goldie Vance is sure to be an entertaining read. All four volumes of this series are available to borrow from Hoopla.

Story: 3 / 5

Art: 3.5 / 5