Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #183 by Drew Barth

I Would Like to be Blueberry

At this juncture I think it’s safe to say that Sailor Moon is one of the most influential comics of the past fifty years. From its look to its usage and establishment of shojo tropes to the global fan reaction to its fashion, we can see Sailor Moon in almost every walk of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in comics like Flavor Girls and creators Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky and Eros de Santiago’s usage of the transforming all-girl hero team to save the world from devastation.

Not far above the earth there hangs a giant face. No one knows where it came from or what it wants, but after attempting to make first contact it does spit out the occasional small invasion force to ransack areas of the planet at random. The military is, as per usual in these scenarios, useless to stop the slowly encroaching forces. But Naoko, Camille, and V—Dragonfruit, Pomegranate, and Artichoke, respectively—can as the mythic Flavor Girls. Their exploits are known across the globe as they seem to be the only ones capable of defeating these lingering foes. But an attack in Paris reveals the existence of a fourth: Sara, the Pineapple. She’s new at this thing—she can’t even beat a single one of the invaders on her own. But that just means we’re going to get Sara’s training arc soon enough. Most intriguing, though, is the figure Sara happened to see before being called to her Pineapple destiny.

Flavor Girls is another in a line of Western comics, like Zodiac Starforce, to come and wear its Sailor Moon influences on its sleeve. And many of its success lie in how Locatelli-Kournwsky and de Santiago render the story on the page. Flavor Girls has this simple dynamic that flows seamlessly from actions and explosion to characters simply walking with one another and talking. While this first issue of the series is oversized, there is an incredible balance in how much we’re given of the world, its characters, and the action that ties them all together. This is no more apparent than when Sara completes her first Flavor Girl transformation and we’re treated to her amazement of becoming a hero, the panic of her new responsibilities, and the dreadful realization that she is unable to fight the aliens that had been chasing her. What should cause a tonal whiplash is handled deftly as every element of the moment balances out.

As a series that dives into the all-girl transforming hero team trope, Flavor Girls works incredibly well with just one issue. Although this first issue is nearly fifty pages, there’s enough to keep the story engaging without feeling as though it’s taking too long to set itself up. This is the kind of series that thrives on hooking you into its first issue and it succeeds in making me want to have the next issue long before it releases.

Get excited. Get transformative.

Drew Barth at Miami Book Fair in 2019.

Drew Barth (Episode 331, 485, & 510) resides in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.