Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Backstagers: A Review

Hello, gentle readers!
So, it's been about a week since the first issue of The Backstagers came out and I'm still not sure whether or not I actually like this book.
Written by James Tynion and Rian Sygh, the book focuses on the adventures and antics of the Backstagers: Jory, Hunter, Sasha, Aziz and Becket.  They're students at an all-boys school called St. Genesius where they work backstage in the Drama Club.  However, this isn't your ordinary backstage job where you build props, manage the lights, etc.  No, this Backstage is akin to Wonderland or Narnia or an Escher painting.  It's full of magic and strangeness that only the Backstagers know about.
In this first issue, Jory is a new student at St. Genesius, looking for a place to belong. He gives the Drama Club a shot, but winds up getting sent backstage where he falls into one of the Backstagers' adventures.  Hijinx ensue and he abandons the stage for the backstage.
The Backstagers is an all-ages book with a definite queer slant.  The first issue doesn't just hit the ground running, it smashes into it and races along it, scattering sparks and debris in its path. That, I think, is part of my problem with the book; in this first issue, things just happen too fast. The characters are painted with broad, colorful strokes.  They rush from one scene to another. As readers, we're not given a chance to process what's happening.
This could be deliberate. Tynion could be attempting to mirror Jory's experience as he is dropped into this incredible world.  If so, if it was meant to draw us in and make us feel like a part of the action, it didn't really work for me.  The pacing on the story just felt rushed and fragmented.
As for the art? I LOVE the cover by Veronica Fish. That is a beautiful piece of work.
But the internal art? Eh. Not so much. I mean, it's okay, but it's just not my cup of tea.  It's a little too cartoonish for my liking.  However, I do like the character designs, especially Becket and Sasha. To me, those two really pop.
Overall, I really want to like this book. I really want to say that it's a great read and a good beginning to this miniseries.
I really want to do it.
But I can't.
This first issue just left me feeling kind of 'Meh.'  It's not good, it's not bad, it's just 'meh.'
On a scale of one to five, I have to give The Backstagers a two.
Since this is only an 8-issue miniseries, I'll probably give the next couple of issues a try.  It's not that bad.  But if I'm not suitably impressed, or amused, by the end of the third issue, I probably won't buy the rest.

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