‘No Heroine #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Kayla Strong will confront more than just her inner demons on the road to recovery. Looking to set things right with a missing friend, Kayla must go head to head with a gang of vampires. In No Heroine #1, writer Frank Gogol and artist Criss Madd give their main character one hell of an entrance.

Before she got clean, Kayla and Sid parted ways on bad terms. Now, ninety days sober, she's ready to make amends. But Kayla fears the worst when she learns Sid's been hanging around with Cassius’ crew of vampire dealers. Sid is the one person Kayla hopes can keep her on the straight-and-narrow and won't let the vampires take him without a fight. But what starts as a rescue attempt soon takes a disheartening turn.

Gogol and Madd use their first issue to introduce a compelling, new character. Kayla is courageous and resolute, but she's burdened by immense guilt and anger. She first appears alone in a phone booth, leaving a voicemail for her mother, and aching for the day she can finally come home. But she knows she's not ready.

And of course, there are also vampires. Gogol deftly employs vampire mythos as an allegory for drug addiction. The vampires are both predators and victims in the first issue. Some are greedy parasites that take from others with no regard for consequences, and others are powerless users with a voracious need to consume. For Kayla, fighting the vampires also means battling these two sides of her former self. It's the beginnings of a great redemption story, although potentially, not one that has a happy ending for all involved.

Madd has a creative use of layout throughout the issue, strengthened by Shawna Madd's colors. The scene inside the church stands out to me in particular, where a stained glass window gives a benediction during Kayla's pensive moment. Frenetic panels with electric outlines emphasize the violence in the fight scenes and harmonize well with the punk rock aesthetic. A strong use of black and shadow in these sequences heighten the tension and focus the reader on the action.

The strength of No Heroine #1 is its focus on Kayla. It lets you know that things are just getting started, and they're probably going to get much worse.


Creative Team: Frank Gogol (writer), Criss Madd (artist), Shawna Madd (colors), Sean Rinheart (letters), Ahmed Raafat (cover), Ben Templesmith (cover)
Publisher: Source Point Press
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