Review: Pound for Pound #1 (TKO Studios)

As we continue our look at TKO Studios second wave of comic series which were recently released, we focus our attention this round on the first issue of Pound for Pound, an action/revenge comic which sees an underground women’s fighter launch an assault on a criminal Kingpin in order to save her sister. Can Pound for Pound continue the publisher’s winning streak with its quality releases or will it end up totally KO’d?

Publisher: TKO Studios
Writer: Natalie Chaidez
Artist: Andy Belanger (Artist), Daniela Miwa (Colorist), Serge Lapointe (Letterer)
Price: £1.99 from ComiXology

Pound for Pound follows the story of underground fighter Dani Libra, a young woman who struggles to make ends meet by utilizing her natural fighting talents in the ring to provide for her young sister, Espie. However, when a fight she was supposed to throw ends with her being victorious, Dani ends up on the wrong side of a local crime lord who gives her 24 hours to make back the money she lost him and takes Espie as collateral for the done deed. However, knowing she can’t make back her debt in a day, Dani turns to her former mentor and police officer boyfriend to help her do one thing; to barge into the crime lords fortress-like home locked and loaded, rescue her sister and put down her tormentor once and for all.

Natalie Chaidex has produced an exciting, action packed and kinetic story within Pound for Pound, as the entire first issue feels very reminiscent of an 80’s action movie in both it’s plot and characterisation. This is something of a double edged sword for the latter as seemingly all of the main characters feel very clichéd and lacking in any hefty character development, instead many of the players coming across as exaggerated. However, the only deviation from this appears in the form of lead character Dani who, while still operating as the stereotypical 80’s lead, is made refreshing as we see such a character with a female perspective allowing for more of an emotional connection rarely seen in such stories. As a result, Pound for Pound really comes across as a mix of From Dusk til Dawn (in its tone) and Kill Bill (in its content).

This is further confirmed thanks to Andy Belanger gorgeous art and Daniela Miwa’s vibrant colours which compliment the story nicely. With Belanger, the art has a very kinetic style, which works particularly well within the action scenes such as the opening fight and a later shoot out. Meanwhile, Miwa offers up quite a psychedelic palette through parts of the issue, with the interiors bathed in trippy lights which give it this very 80’s aesthetic similar to another 80’s set title; Our Final Halloween. Of course, this isn’t the tone for the entire issue, with warmer more neutral colours used elsewhere, but Miwa switches them up nicely to gravitate between dangerous and safer settings.

Based on its first issue, Pound for Pound is a fun, easygoing read which is perfect for lovers of 80’s action. With a story which never feels boring (if not wholly original) and artwork which is gorgeous to look at, Fans of movies like Commando, Kickboxer or even a Tarantino movie should get a kick out of checking this out.