Review: Aggretsuko #1 by Daniel Barnes, CJ Cannon (Cover Art), D.J. Kirkland (Artist), Sarah Stern (Colorist)

Title: Aggretsuko #1
Author: Daniel Barnes, CJ Cannon (Cover Art), D.J. Kirkland (Artist), Sarah Stern (Colorist)
Publisher: Oni Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
22 Pages
Published February 2020

Summary: Sanrio and Oni Press join forces to bring Aggretsuko to comics for the first time! Aggretsuko, the hit Netflix show in production for season three, stars Retsuko the Red Panda, a young office worker stuck in a thankless job, whose only stress release is singing heavy metal at the local karaoke joint. With the help of her friends, can she ever find the job satisfaction she craves - - not to mention adventure, the approval of her mother, and even... love?! These comics explore all these issues and more, brought to life by today's top talent!

I received an advanced copy of Aggretsuko #1 from the fabulous Margot Wood and the Oni Press team back when I reached out in January -- my boyfriend had loved the series for a long time and recently gotten me to watch it! Since we both really enjoyed watching it together, as soon as I found out that there were going to be graphic novels released, I asked Margot if it would be possible to send me a copy for review. Not only did she deliver (as well as send me tons of other great stuff that I can't wait to read!), but she sent my boyfriend his own copy as well, which he was ecstatic about! So without further ado, let's get into my review.

First thing's first: the art is absolutely beautiful. I read this book so carefully, so afraid to turn the pages, because I was impressed with the art and the colors and that's one of the biggest reasons that I've been turning to graphic novels lately. There's something about the great art that really helps bring a story to life! 

It was also really fascinating to read about this "C-Virus" that is affecting the whole office, especially since I'm reading this in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Granted, when I received this copy back in February, things hadn't really ramped up here yet -- so I doubt that the coronavirus is what's actually being referred to -- but it felt really on-the-nose (and kind of funny to me) to see this book dealing with a mysterious virus that zombifies people. It was a tad too close to real life, but that is of course nobody's fault, and it got a good smile out of me. I tore through this book (even though it's only 22 pages) in a matter of minutes because I couldn't look away, and then I went back and reread it again to savor it even more. Seeing the return of all of the characters in this brief, hilarious little art piece really did brighten my crappy week of being stuck inside social-distancing. (Which is a necessity, people!)

And now, some commentary from my boyfriend, Matt, who also read the book and is a huge Aggretsuko fan!

The illustration was good and you could get a good feel for their personalities just from their faces and stances. My favorite part is when Aggretsuko pinballs off of Washimi and Gori; her quick one-liner and stance when she lands is definitely classic Retsuko.

I also enjoyed the fact that this was a short one-off of the anime where we get to see these characters in unique situations that are just enjoyable to read. It isn't trying to do too much yet, but it made me smile. I'm sure eventually we'll get subplots or little recurring things, and I'm excited for those!

Overall, I really loved reading Aggretsuko #1. The only downside is that I wish it had been longer, since I tore through it so quickly! If you're looking for a quick read that will make you laugh and lets you dive back into a television series you've been enjoying, then I'd definitely recommend picking this one up -- I'll certainly be on the hunt for Aggretsuko #2-4, which Goodreads has let me know are coming!


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