Out this week from Boom! Studios, Flavor Girls #3 by Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky and colorist Eros de Santiago brings the first series barreling to a conclusion and answers the pressing question: what can a pineapple wand do in a fight? Having only recently come together as a complete unit, the Flavor Girls are forced to confront their first real test – one of the Agarthians’ four generals. Between Sara’s inexperience and Naoko’s ties to the villain, things promise to escalate quickly.
Flavor Girls team leader Naoko has been holding in a lot. The final issue of the miniseries starts with a look into her past, focusing on a lingering sense of survivor’s guilt she has after the death of her best friend. Those feelings dovetail into the present, where the Flavor Girls face off against alien general Troezen. A vain warlord who killed Naoko’s friend all those years ago. New member Sara manages to wield new powers during the brawl, but they might not be enough to ensure victory. An epilogue delves into the ranks of the mysterious Agarthians and the single human who’s chosen to help them. The final story is a short conclusion to the previous issue’s haunted house story. Naoko again faces her guilt, and the team adopts a new pet.
The Flavor Girls miniseries’ climax brings a more serious tone and a lot of life-or-death fighting. The first pages set the stage for the whole issue, starting with Naoko amid a vicious fight and transitioning to silent images of her tragic past. However, it’s not all doom-and-gloom. Sara’s inexperience brings a lot of comic relief, especially when she starts naming her attacks or takes short breaks from the battle to geek out over her new powers.
It’s a glimpse at the hierarchy of the Agarthians that makes for the most exciting moment of the issue. Until now, the aliens have mostly been portrayed as silent and enigmatic. But now, they don’t only have voices but strong, defined personalities. For example, Troezen is a vain Lord who lives for the approval of his peers, serving under King Monarkh, who comes off as a drunk, disinterested ruler. Other characters hint at infighting among Agartha’s higher ranks, and Monarkh gives a glimpse into his ultimate goals. It’s a big shift, but one that promises more involved villains who can inject personality into whatever fight they’re involved in. Assuming the Flavor Girls eventually return, it’s a choice that could give the series a lot more longevity.
Locatelli-Kournwsky gets to show off his action chops throughout the issue, and he manages to create exciting scenes that still show his more methodical approach to storytelling. Panel grids are used for more mundane or slower-paced scenes, while more frantic action gets similarly laid-out panels but with diagonal, sloping borders. It keeps the storytelling calm and controlled, but with a slightly off-kilter feeling that fits the desperate scramble, the climactic fight becomes. Panels-within-panels are also often used to either highlight an impact or show a cutaway reaction shot from one of the characters. These little tricks keep Locatelli-Kournwsky’s use of many small, strictly laid-out panels from feeling stiff or static. His use of manga-style motion lines that blur characters and backgrounds into arcs of motion also helps. However, the smaller panels keep these feeling like more contained moments than similar manga pages that might make an entire page into a flurry of motion. For all the choices taken to keep things exciting, it’s Clarity that’s king here.
Eros de Santiago and Locatelli-Kournwsky collaborate to bring their brightest palette yet, backgrounds fading away to be dominated by pinks, yellows, and blues. But the vibrancy of the early fight slowly gives way to menacing reds and blacks as things go south, culminating in the sickly reds and yellows used on the Agarthian’s planet.
The lettering retains its handwritten charm, though the more serious tone of the issue leaves less room for small doodles in the margins of speech bubbles. There are still loosely scribbled sound effects, from an excited “WOOOOO!” to a cat’s irritated “Maw!”
Flavor Girls #3 is an action-packed conclusion to the first story arc, which sets up many future plot points that are begging to be explored. Hopefully, this isn’t the last we see of the girls.