I need to know what happened between Friday Fitzhugh and Lancelot Jones last summer. And because it chooses to focus on that very personal mystery, the first chapter of Friday succeeds.
Written by Ed Brubaker (Fatale) and illustrated by the art team of Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente (Barrier), Friday is a young adult noir set in the years after a pair of teen detectives had their heyday – and a mysterious event changed their relationship forever. Friday Fitzhugh left for college and, now that she’s back, she’s wondering if anything can stay the same. Meanwhile, Lancelot Jones is pretending nothing’s changed.
I would say that this dynamic, and the narrative discontent it creates, is Friday‘s biggest strength – but Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente are illustrating this book. As such, the tone is set just as much by their pacing, page layouts, and color choices as it is Brubaker’s dialogue and captions.
When Friday begins, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a Brubaker/Phillips joint, maybe a short set in the world of Fatale. That’s because, on the first few pages, Vicente draws from the same noir color pallete that many other Brubaker books use. But as the story continues, bits of brighter color remind you you’re reading what is essentially the continuation of a young adult mystery series. That you are seeing what happens when characters who weren’t meant to exist past age 16 grow up and see the world for what it really is.
What absolutely sets this apart from a Brubaker/Phillips book, though, is the kinetic energy and sense of movement Martin brings to each page. In this opening chapter, Friday and Lancelot take on a new case, and each page pulls readers further into their world and the mysteries found there. By the time I hit the end of this chapter, I was surprised I’d already read all thirty pages, because the story moved so quickly and was so engrossing.
If you used to tear through young adult mystery novels as a kid (like I did), you’ll love the first chapter of Friday. And I imagine you’ll excitedly await chapter two’s arrival.