With Pride Month fast approaching, it’s the perfect time to pick up comics that are based on LGBTQ+ characters. One such comic that will be released this week is The Avant-Guards #5, which is published by BOOM! Studios, written by Carly Usdin, illustrated by Noah Hayes, colored by Rebecca Nalty, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.
The previous issue left off with Liv getting an email stating the rest of the league games have been suspended due to funding. This issue deals with the fallout of that email. Liv informs her teammates of the bad news but they encourage her to find a way to save the league. Meanwhile, Jay is nervous about their first solo art show and invites the team to attend.
This series is always full of surprises in regards to the direction that it goes. For one, I assumed that this series would focus mainly on Charlie and Liv being leaders of the team and on the growth of their relationship. However, readers will be delighted to see that this isn’t the case, as this issue also focuses on Jay’s doubts on becoming a more serious artist. Jay, who identifies as they or them, seems very worried about the art show and since they weren’t aware that this would be a solo art show. This is the character focus that will surely carry this series forward.
However, that doesn’t mean that the development of Charlie and Liv’s relationship was completely abandoned. Although it’s brief, they talk about the kiss that they shared as seen in the previous issue. The scene does an excellent job in letting readers know what they’re interested in and what kind of people they are. It’s an interesting set up to what will surely be a major dilemma in future installments. It feels like a genuine dilemma that college students have during the initial steps of a relationship rather than being forced for plot purposes.
One of the major elements in this issue that were perfectly executed was the friendship that this team shares, especially with Jay and Ashley. Jay has difficulties with being in public settings and asks Ash to pass out flyers to the art show. Ash, as seen in the page below, goes out of her way to not only spread the word but find unique ways to do so. The entire basketball team goes to support Jay’s gallery, which shows to what ends they have all grown as friends. It’s incredible to see friendships in which all people involved support one another.
It’s fantastic to see that stories from characters who identify in the LGBTQ+ community being included in this series. It was very unlikely to see these kinds of comics being published a few years back by major companies. It wouldn’t be surprising for members of this community to find themselves within any of these characters. With these types of stories being told, it gives hope for other stories from the community to be told in comics and other forms of media.
Like the previous four issues, this new installment did not disappoint. It was an enjoyable read that hasn’t lost the spark that’s made this series a must-read. It continues to shine a light on the LGBTQ+ community and does an excellent job showing how close this basketball team has become. The issue also includes stories that focus on other characters, which erases any belief that this would just focus on a romantic relationship blossoming and the formation of a basketball team. It will surely be interesting to see where the series goes from here.
The Avant-Guards #5 is available now wherever comic books are sold.