Frenemy of the State #1

The celebrity tie-in, with co-writer Rashida Jones appearing on Parks and Recreation, is getting a certain amount of attention, but it doesn’t take someone working in Hollywood to make fun of our celebrity-obsessed culture. And while that was the part of the premise that originally attracted me, it turns out to be the weakest element.

Frenemy of the State #1

I thought the opening montage, with Twitter descriptions of the setting and characters, was unnecessary and trying too hard, plus the information revealed was repetitive. We get the same points in the story itself. Once I met Ariana, though, I wanted to know more about her. She’s a Paris Hilton-like socialite who’s really a spy.

We quickly get a flashback to how she found herself in this situation, and that takes up much of the issue. I already loved her as a pretty girl who gets into an argument over fine points of differentiation between the Alice in Wonderland book and cartoon movie. But then we learn she was a master hacker, using her skills to catch losers cheating on her. She was much smarter than anyone expected her to be, and she had to do something to keep herself occupied. The appeal of the series is almost entirely based on how interesting Ariana is as a character, since the rest is standard spy stuff you’ve already seen on Chuck, so it’s a good thing she’s more three-dimensional than expected. I’d want her as a friend.

Unfortunately, the art by Jeff Wamester isn’t quite up to the story. The eyes of the lead “actresses” are often oddly slanted, off-kilter in relation to each other. It makes them freakish instead of gorgeous (although maybe that’s a realistic portrayal, too). He does have the basics of setting and fashion down, though, and picks some nice angles for staging. I suspect as I read further, its angularity will grow on me.

Some sources report that this is a five-issue miniseries, in which case, it’s probably best to wait for the eventual collection — if you can wait that long to find out the resolution of the literally sudden-death cliffhanger. I found this good light entertainment, but I still can’t get used to the $4 price point for a piece of story that hasn’t yet gone anywhere substantial, although I have high hopes it will. I really do want to know what happens next!

There’s a preview at the publisher’s website, and they provided a digital review copy.


3 Responses to “Frenemy of the State #1”

  1. Thom Says:

    I didn’t realize Jones was breaking into comics. That came so out of left field for me.

  2. Budget for Good Books: Comics Out July 14 ยป Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] that leaves me with periodical comics. Oni has the second issues of two series I’m enjoying, Frenemy of the State and The Sixth Gun, at $4 each. That leaves me with $7, which is enough to get Birds of Prey #3 (DC, [...]

  3. Frenemy of the State #3 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] those kinds of twists on the spy formula, mixed with lifestyle trivia, that entertain me most in this celebutante series. In this case, though, it leads into a too-long fight scene. Once I got the point, I was ready to [...]

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