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!
CASUAL FLING #1
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 Fling: Jennifer 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.
A SLICE OF LIFE
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.
…WITH AN UNEXPECTED TWIST
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.
BOTTOM LINE: I LIKE IT, BUT IT FEELS VERY FAMILIAR
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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CASUAL FLING #1
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.