FRIDAY, BOOK ONE: THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Marcos Martin
Publisher: Image Comics/Panel Syndicate
WHAT IS IT?
Friday is a post-YA mystery about a former child detective returning to her hometown during college break and teaming with her eccentric partner on a new case with an eerie connection to their past.
A concoction of mystery, romance, and supernatural horror, Friday is the adult combo of the Hardy Boys and Lovecraft that you didn't know you needed.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
After a semester away at college, former child detective, Friday Fitzhugh returns to her hometown of Kings Hill for a quiet winter break with her family. Her plans almost immediately fall apart, however, when she's recruited by Lancelot Jones, Kings Hill's resident Sherlock Holmes and her former partner, to aid him in an ongoing case involving the theft of an ancient dagger. Despite their strained relationship, they work together to apprehend the culprit, only to realize that the case is more complex than they suspected with everything linking back to a supernatural entity known as "The White Lady."
The answer to their case lies deep in the history of Kings Hill and the night that forever altered the relationship between Friday and Lancelot. Will Friday and Lancelot manage to reconcile? And what's the White Lady's connection with the pair of detectives?
Ed Brubaker crafts a layered relationship between Friday and Lancelot with clear chemistry between the two, but there's also a history of pain that influences each of their interactions.
Marcos Martin's artwork is on another level with Friday; each page is filled with immersive environments and quiet character moments that invite you to take your time with the story and soak everything in.
Muntsa Vicente's color choices were breathtaking with her palette, lending so much to the eerie night sequences which frequent the book.
Marcos Martin's lettering is top-notch, using colored word balloons for emphasis with select panels. And a special mention has to go out to his design during the spread pages, particularly the ones in chapter two which showcase book covers of Friday and Lancelot's previous adventures, and the captions for those pages are placed inside the pages of the open books.
The decision to give each chapter an expanded page count past the usual 20- to 22-page single-issue format was an inspired choice. Breaking from the standard format allows for the artwork to breathe, along with showcasing more moody environmental panels to better set the tone for the story. This decision also helps to better flesh out the world Friday occupies, which is bursting with so much history, the creative time doesn't feel pressured to tell it all to the reader in the beginning, but rather to pace it out for much more satisfying reveals.
A staple of Ed Brubaker comics is his use of narrative captions, and they're used to great effect with Friday. Much of the worldbuilding is guided brilliantly through the omniscient narrator, giving us a sense of the long-running history of Friday and Kings Hill and filtering it predominantly through Friday's interpretation of events. No one manages to capture longing and regret in narration quite like Ed Brubaker.
The previously mentioned spread pages with the book covers deserve another mention on the merit that each of the covers Martin illustrated are so above and beyond what was necessary for the story, giving each cover a unique style that readers would no doubt wish were real adventures they could buy as well.
The supernatural elements of Friday are mostly implied throughout the story until one sequence where things take a turn into straight-up horror and it is without a doubt the stand-out sequence of the book. There's a clear build to the moment where you know something is off and once the White Lady is introduced, the book ratchets up the tension in ways you couldn't have expected.
Without direct spoilers, since it's best experienced for yourself, the ending of Friday leaves the reader with a palpable feeling of "anything goes from here." Brubaker, Martin, and Vicente are more than willing to burn down everything they spent building up in previous chapters, and it is one hell of a hook to make us come back for future chapters.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
The smaller size of the print version of Friday presents slightly diminishes the beauty of Marcos Martin and Munsta Vicente's artwork. Hopefully, a larger version will be released later on. This book more than deserves an oversized edition.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Friday is a powerhouse of a comic with a creative team that's at the top of their game, delivering a thrilling hybrid detective story in a way that no one else could. Brubaker & Martin's character-driven approach to the story and art fleshes out Friday as a compelling protagonist with her own baggage that's methodically revealed to readers, thanks to the story's expanded page count.
Flipping through any page of Friday, it's clear to see Martin and Vicente put on a clinic with artwork that encourages you to slow down and take it all in. And hopefully, future versions of Friday will include an oversized hardcover for us to better appreciate their efforts. Whether you're a fan of YA mysteries, a long-time reader of comics, or brand new to the medium, Friday is a must-have for anyone's collection.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Fatale Vol. 1-5 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser
Kill or Be Killed Vol. 1-4 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser
November Vol. 1-4 by Matt Fraction, Elsa Charretier, Matt Hollingsworth, and Kurt Ankeny
If you like the art:
Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughn, Marcos Martin, and Munsta Vicente
Barrier by Brian K. Vaughn, Marcos Martin, and Munsta Vicente
Renato Jones: The One% by Kaare Andrews
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Ed Brubaker – Writer
Award Winner: Brubaker is a multiple-time Eisner and Harvey award-winning author along with winning a GLAAD award for his run on Catwoman.
Name Recognition: He has written several high-profile comics including Criminal, The Fade Out, and acclaimed runs on Captain America and Catwoman for Marvel and DC Comics.
Marcos Martin – Artist/Letterer
Multitalented: Not only is Martin a talented artist, he is also the co-founder of Panel Syndicate alongside Brian K. Vaughn and Muntsa Vicente.
Prolific: Martin has also worked for Marvel and DC Comics with works including Batgirl: Year One, Dr. Strange: The Oath, and issues on Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil.
Muntsa Vicente – Colorist
Outlander: Muntsa hails from Barcelona, Spain.
Dream Team: Muntsa has been the exclusive colorist for each of Marcos Martin's Panel Syndicate projects.
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