After a bombastic introduction to a supernatural world of alien-fighting magical girls, Sara’s reached a hitch in her new superhero career; she’s not a great athlete. So she can expect lots of sweat and tears as she struggles to live up to the example her teammates have set for her. Flavor Girls #2 by Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky and colorist Eros de Santiago is a book about the trials and tribulations of young Sara, adrift in an unfamiliar world, faced with the all-too-familiar pains of gym class.
In the first issue of the series, young activist Sara was chosen to join the “Flavor Girls,” a superpowered team of young women who fight against mysterious alien invaders. But Sara’s going to need a lot of training to get the most out of her new powers. So Matilda, a non-powered human who owes her life to a Flavor Girls rescue, decides to become Sara’s personal trainer. Another part of Sara’s initiation is team leader Naoko asking her to try and extract a report from Camille, the most laid-back and occasionally forgetful member. Camille proposes discussing the report over lunch, which turns into a conversation about the source of the Flavor Girls’ power. The conversation’s cut short by the sudden appearance of a general from the alien armada. Also included in the issue is a short side-story about the girls investigating a spooky, possibly haunted house.
Now that the basic foundation’s been laid, Locatelli-Kournwsky slows Flavor Girls down to spend its second issue on the everyday lives of its heroines. The breathing room does a lot to help develop their personalities. Camille especially, as she manages to steal the show during her few appearances. From her messy room full of toys and records, to casually befriending a Kappa in a haunted house, her casual attitude is a great contrast to the more uptight V and Naoko. Matilda also gets quite a bit of focus. Her extended flashback helps give perspective to how every day civilians were affected by the sudden, violent invasion of the alien “Argarthians.” The entire sequence takes place in stark silence, the colors fading to monochromatic blue as Matilda runs across a war zone the aliens have torn to pieces.
The additional side story eschews the ongoing narrative for a more straightforward “monster of the week” approach. However, it’s a story inspired by the 1977 cult movie House. By nature of taking place in an established universe, there’s nothing here quite as surreal or avant-garde as that film. Though the story double-dips in its homages by putting the story through a Ben-Day dot filter and coloring certain panels in bright, primary reds and yellows, emulating the look of classic horror comics. It’s a fun aside that provides monsters and action to compliment the main story’s slower, more contemplative approach.
With most of the comic set at the Flavor Girls’ interdimensional temple, Locatelli-Kournwsky gets to draw many different sides of the supernatural structure – from sweeping, regal arches to the mundane bedrooms of the main cast and the mysterious, overgrown, and dimly lit underground. In contrast to the detailed backgrounds, his characters are rendered in a much more simple style. This especially shines during the cartoony moments, like when Sara’s expression almost melts off her face from sheer exhaustion.
Eros de Santiago and Locatelli-Kournwsky collaborate on colors, sticking mainly to the pastel palette established in the first issue. Though the temple is dominated almost purely by deep blues, only spilling into greens during scenes set in the overgrown underground. The side-story gets to experiment more with color, ranging from the reds mentioned above and yellows to dull tans, olives, or a searing pink.
The lettering has a slightly uneven, handwritten quality without sacrificing clarity. The sound effects are often put in speech bubbles, but written in more frantic, loose handwriting. Small pictures are also scrawled into bubbles from time to time, like a small drawing of a flower accompanying Sara’s sigh of relaxation.
Flavor Girls #2 seeks to deepen the world of the book alongside its characters. It takes advantage of the oversized format to strike a more leisurely pace, with a wackier side-story thrown in as a chaser. However, it should be said that with the series billed as a three-issue miniseries, this issue feels less like the second chapter of a trilogy and more like it’s laying the groundwork for something bigger. Hopefully, the future has more in store for the Flavor Girls. It’s out today from Boom! Studios, so check it out if you get the chance.