Sometimes, it only takes one bad decision to blow up your whole life. Your Major Spoilers review of Casual Fling #1 from AWA Studios – Upshot awaits!


Writer: Jason Starr
Artist: Dalibor Talajic
Colorist: Marco Lesko
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: AWA Studios – Upshot
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 10, 2021

Previously in Casual FlingJennifer Ryan has the perfect life.  A loving family.  A high paying job in corporate law.  A luxurious apartment in upper Manhattan.  Then one day she steps out of her marriage… and finds that her new lover isn’t the one night stand she expected.  Stalked and threatened with exposure, Jennifer attempts to unravel the true identity of her tormentor, discovering valuable clues in the trail of destruction left in this mysterious man’s wake.


This issue begins with a truly touching bit of real-life, as successful lawyer Jennifer and her stay-at-home spouse prepare for their day.  With two kids, he’s as busy as she is, and as she leaves, Jennifer gets a reminder that her daughter’s recital is that night.  Unfortunately, her boss has other plans, and her day gets extended into cocktails and a meet-and-greet at which she meets the debonair Alex.  So distracted is she by their quiet flirtation, she misses the entire recital and gets the silent treatment from her husband.  Worse still, the boss is angry that she ditched early, upbraiding her for “incorrect priorities.”  Does that one-two punch have anything to do with her decision to go meet Alex for a drink?  It’s unclear, but that drink leads her to his room and some ill-advised adult activities.  Jennifer returns to her life, seemingly trying to put things back together, only to receive an unexpected call from a blocked number.


It’s nice to see a story like this delivered in comics form, with no capes, swords, sorcery or super-powers, and I enjoy how well this issue presents Jennifer’s story.  The setup of her life is very well-done in both art and story, establishing a lot of information in just two pages, transitioning us to the meat of the issue at her workplace.  The art is quite good throughout the issue, and the subtle body language during her initial evening with Alex is remarkable, managing to be both subtle and cinematic at once.  The downside is that, even though this isn’t something I’ve read in comics before, it’s a very familiar tale, a gender-swapped ‘Fatal Attraction”, presented with movie-of-the-week sureness right up to the last page reveal that Alex recorded their lovemaking.  The setup is here for terrible things, and I want to see where it goes, even as I’m pretty sure I already know.


Still, if being slightly predictable were a fatal flaw, I’d never break 2 stars in a review ever again, meaning that Casual Fling #1 wins the day on the strength of its storytelling, its ability to create character sketches in a limited amount of time and the skillful way that Jennifer’s dilemma is built, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I was surprised that a book with a Mature label for one f-bomb and some artfully shadowed nudity, but it does a lot of things right and has me interested in seeing the next issue.

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I very much like how this book doesn't have any arcane or unusual bits, just a very mundane story that goes very wrong in interesting ways, even if parts of it are quite familiar.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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