ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘No Heroine,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

No Heroine #2

No Heroine is a series from Ringo Award-nominated writer Frank Gogol that offers up demons both of the supernatural and personal kind. Published by Source Point Press, the title features art and colors respectively from father-daughter team Criss Madd and Shawna Madd, with letters by Sean Rinehart. Inspired by the iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, No Heroine uses action and monsters to tell the wholly grounded and emotional story of Kayla Vasquez. Now with No Heroine #2 we get the chance to see how Kayla survives on her own, with every safety net gone.

If you’re just stepping into the series, Kayla is a recovering heroin addict who just wants to go home to her family. That said, with a large list of wrongs in her life, she needs to right them first. This all comes to a head when a friend goes missing and she starts down a long, dark road filled with vampires and werewolves. But the striking thing about Kayla is that despite the call to action, she is absolutely not hero material.  Last issue, Kayla set out to rescue her AA-sponsor and friend, only to be pushed to make the decision, join him as a demon or kill him to save herself.

After that heartache, in No Heroine #2 Kayla finds herself on the road and needing a win. She’s both devastated and pushing towards survival, and for a moment, things are looking up. At least they are until she meets a young woman with a dark secret. Werewolves, street fights, and a whole lot of pain find Kayla as this series claws its way toward its final chapter.

No Heroine #2 tells Kaylas’s story through the present and the past, with alternating pages that detail her past mistakes only to compound her present ones. While fighting a werewolf in order to protect his victim, Kayla takes as much of a beating as she dishes out. As she fights, Gogol uses the time to show how her confrontation in this street fight is pushing her to think of her past trauma, namely her brother’s death. There is a lot in the use of flashbacks that helps round out who Kayla is beyond just a troubled badass. She’s been through loss, love, and made bad decisions along the way. The family dynamic shown in these moments is powerful and is brings a new understanding to Kayla as a character.

No Heroine #2

That said, No Heroine #2 has one big pitfall. While the last issue did a good job of incorporating Kayla’s latinidad, this one, struggles. Due in large part to the spanglish used on the page. While I can only speak from my experience, using a word like “chica” in a direct conversation to a white woman, isn’t usually done with a pure heart given how much non-Latinx people use this word in a patronizing way when dealing with Latinas. Additionally, in one scene, Kayla’s mom finds her on the couch, overdosed. She calls Kayla “bebé” and it lacks the emotional attachment that a word like “mija” would have had in that moment.

Bebé, which means baby, is often used in phrases like: look at the baby, or this baby, and parents to their children more often than not use mija or mijo to denote their emotional connection to their own child. While “my daughter” the literal translation for mija may not hold emotional weight in English like “baby” does, in Latinx communities it is a term loaded with familial and emotional connections. While these issues aren’t egregious, they did pull me out of what should have been emotional scenes and instead had me question them.

Now, this oversight is frustrating but it doesn’t detract from No Heroine #2’s ability to root for Kayla while simultaneously feeling sorry for her. It’s a wonderful balance that Gogol strikes. This balance is shown through the Madd duo’s artwork is also well executed, with each version of Kayla wearing her hardships on her body.

Overall, No Heroine #2 is a great issue and I’m even more in love with Kayla than I was at the end of the last issue. While the issues with Spanish bother me, I still highly recommend this series. In fact, upon, I’ve reached out to Gogol and he will be updating the language in future printings of the issue. No Heroine is filled with care and heart, and I can’t wait for the next issue.

No Heroine #2 can be pre-ordered until July 3, 2020.

No Heroine #2
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TL;DR

No Heroine #2 is a great issue and I’m even more in love with Kayla than I was at the end of the last issue. While the issues with Spanish bother me, I still highly recommend this series.