Publisher: BOOM! Box
Writer: Pamela Ribon
Illustrator: Veronica Fish
Colours: Brittany Peer
Slam! #2 is here and it brings with even more roller derby action. As the two friends Jenifer “Knock Out” Chu and Maise “Ithinka Can” Huff continue their new-found roller derby career they discover both their lives are changing in very different ways.
This issue goes into the derby side of things hard and fast. There was a lot of jargon that was lost on me as we see training for an upcoming race. Most of the rules and terms you can mostly figure out, though I couldn’t tell you how accurate to reality they are myself having not really experienced roller derby in any way before. I felt a little like the characters thrust into this new life. They continue with the stark contrast of the two lives and how roller derby has changed them. Jenifer has begun to fall behind in college, being late with papers and not being able to keep her life organised. Maise finds herself more confident and even has a guy interested in her. Even the way the groups have taken to them are very different. Even with all those differences you can still see a child-like excitement and happiness to life that has been brought to both characters thanks to roller derby.
In this issue of Slam we are introduced to Velvet Coffin, a member of Jenifer’s team. She seems like one of those likely antagonist characters: she’s bigger than them, she’s gruff and unsociable and she seems a little mean too. It really sets Velvet up to be a strong opposing force for the two overly friendly protagonists to try to overcome, both as a mentor-like figure and a rival. Something that they writer does really well is subvert this idea of the rival character by giving you a look into her life away from her skates. We get to see Velvet as a person with a lot of responsibilities and how she has to balance everything in her life. This balance continue to set her up as the antithesis of the heroes by how uncoordinated their lives have become.
Slam! continues to impress me with its charm and its wit. The characters have already been incredibly fleshed out after just two issues. The dynamic between Jenifer and Maise is what really makes this comic work. They laugh, they fight, they help each other and they let each other down. Their friendship is what really pulls me in; the skating just helps.