A quick recap of the first volume of Misfit City: Best friends: Ed, Wilder, Macy, Dot, Karma, Macy’s step-brother Todd, and Pip (the dog) discover a treasure map found in the chest of a long thought dead sea captain. Running from the Captain’s alleged long lost relatives, Luther and Millie Denby, the gang go on an adventure of a lifetime to find the treasure while navigating through friendships, love, trust, and growing pains. Volume 1 ends when Luther and Millie nearly kill Macy, and the gang finds Captain Denby himself by the entrance to a secret cave. What will happen next?
Follow up series volumes are like a band’s sophomore album; they’re not always as good as the first one. This is not the case for Misfit City, Vol. 2. The gang is in full force here, Kristin “Kiwi” Smith and Kurt Lustgarden keep the dialogue and pacing smooth as the story progresses. In an interview with Smith and Lustgarten, the two talk about divvying up the work where Lustgarten handles most of the action sequences while Smith handles the snappy dialogue during connecting scenes. Smith and Lustgarten, partners in work as well as in love, make brilliant co-writers as the transition between scenes is seamless.
The original art team of Volume 1 is also back, with line work by Naomi Franquiz and colors by Brittany Peer. Both Franquiz and Peer are as on point with the art as Smith and Lustgarten are with the writing. The artwork is smooth and crisp. I really appreciate the near sepia tones of the work. Bright colors are used sparingly but effectively as the action and plot progress. This is a difference from the first volume where the colors used were as striking as the gang’s personalities, but that is not to say it’s not effective here; rather the story has grown darker in tone, so the coloring selection seems wise and appropriate.
While my earlier review didn’t go into depth regarding the first volume’s inclusivity, I should clarify that by this I mean the series is inclusive of body type, sexuality, background, and race, to name a few things. Dot is a plus-size asexual girl, Ed is a tall, thin lesbian, Macy and her step-brother Todd are black, and the deputy sheriff is a Sikh. This book has a relatable character for nearly everyone. I personally connected with several characters, and it was nice to see representation of myself in a book which seems to so rarely happen. Smith is known for her riot grrl power writing and pop culture references (she wrote or co-wrote the scripts for the movies Ten Things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde), and these tendencies are in full power, which enhance the books’ appeal.
Does Volume 2 answer the questions posed in Volume 1? The short answer is “yes.” Smith and Lustgarten finely tune and solve the original mystery and a few subplots are also tightly closed. However, and this is a big however, in volume 2 they present new story lines and mysteries that open the door to future volumes, except, depressingly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any word on furthering the series. Sadly, Boom!’s website marks issue #8 as the series’ final volume, though we can always hold out hope for a revival.
I highly recommended Misfit City, Volume 1 and the same goes for Volume 2. The endings, as they were, are satisfying and the characters are well developed. Volume 2 is clearly a must-have if you’ve started the series. I would highly recommend the series for teen collections since there is a wide variety of representation in the book that can appeal to many. However, adult readers will also find a lot to love here. The girl power attitude and struggles of being a teen are also well thought out here. I would also consider adding it to lists for LGTBQ+ novels and art.
Misfit City, Vol. 2
By Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith, Kurt Lustgarten
Art by Naomi Franquiz, Brittany Peer
Boom! Studios, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teen (16+)
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NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18)
Character Traits: Black, Multiracial, Lesbian, Queer, Asexual, Genderqueer, Nonbinary
Creator Highlights: BIPOC Creator, LGBTQIA+ Creator