Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Adam Glass
Creators: Adam Glass and Aidan Glass
Artist: Diego Yapur
Colourist: DC Alonso
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 13th February 2019
The first two issues of AfterShock’s Lollipop Kids are a good demonstration of how a great idea can end up buried under the heavy effort of world-building. The series boasts a strong premise which ties folklore and fairy-tales with modern-day sensibility, magical warfare with contemporary issues, and mythic creatures with relatable heroes.
However, in those opening issues, Adam and Aidan Glass couldn’t quite manage to find the sweet-spot between the exposition needed to establish a world and the action needed to progress a story at a strong pace, resulting in pages filled to the brim with dialogue boxes, and very little room for the characters to breathe and grow.
And while issue #3 doesn’t completely find this balance, it deliver a strong sign that the Glass’ are beginning to take control of their storytelling, refining it and pushing this book towards what it deserves to be.
With Nick being unable to get his shit together and leave the park and the Lollipop Kids behind him, the Kids use the opportunity to show him why their band of warriors matters, sharing their history and even the secrets within Nick’s own family; secrets that might just lead him to Mia.
At first glance, this might not seem to rectify the problems with the previous issues, but the events that play out here feature a strong enough mix of set pieces and progression to make it a success. Although it doesn’t advance the plot much further, it’s great to finally see each moving part of the series interact and evolve in a manner we’ve not seen in the previous issues. Even if it’s not perfect, it furthers interest in these characters, their motivations and the machinations that propel them.
The info-dumping also feels slightly less intrusive, as the Glass’ push into the most interesting aspects of the world they’re crafting and really establishing its own identity in the genre. And Nick, alongside the other kids, grows exponentially in this issue as well, with the revelations making good use of the dichotomy of his character and the battle between his desire to protect his family and his own fear, He could perhaps, do with a few less internal speech bubbles, and the dialogue and body language provided by Yapur’s art does a lot of the heavy lifting to make him the versatile character he is.
As another plus, the Glass’ do some incredibly cool things with representation and diversity as we see more of the Lollipop Kids up close and personal, just generally showing Aftershock and its ensemble of talent as one of the most progressive and downright lovely on the shelves.
Yapur, Alonso and Cipriano’s production and art has been a strong suit from the get-go, but it reaches another level of quality this issue. The inside of the Lollipop Kid’s base, and the mixture of the ethereal and the technological, gives them ample opportunity to go all-out with some of the most mesmerising and out-of-this-world art on the shelves. There’s such a distinctive look and colour here that adds so much to the book’s strong personality.
Lollipop Kids #3 still flounders in some areas though. Not every line of dialogue is completely refined, the ‘info-dumping’ approach still barrages the reader with walls of text, and the plot will really need to start moving its gears next issue if the story hopes to deliver anything approaching a satisfying first arc. That said, the positives of #3 completely outweigh the negatives here, suggesting that this new series is finally starting to deliver on its undeniable potential.
So if you’re on the fence about dropping this series, or perhaps curious to find out if this series is worth returning to, this issue definitely proves its staying power. Not only that, but it the fact that the authors are able to grow and refine their story suggests that every issue is only going to get stronger from here, and it’ll be a confident trade buy too. It seems like AfterShock may have yet another hit on its hands.
The writer of this piece was: Connor Stephens
Connor Tweets from @diddlesMVP