Review: 15 Love 1
In a refreshing turn of events, last week Marvel published “15 Love” is a new comic from Andi Watson about tennis. Weird, right? I was wondering where Spider-Man was until they told me it was ” TEENAGE TENNIS ACTION AS ONLY MIGHTY MARVEL CAN DELIVER! “. Turns out, Mill Collins is a bottom ranked tennis player at Wayne’s Tennis Academy, close to getting kicked out for her terrible scores. Right as she fears the worst, a strange man named Walt offers to train Mill to win her next game and increase her rank. It’s a simple underdog sports comic, and until the last two pages, it plays out like one. The cliffhanger at the end hooked me in, but not enough to save the rest from being run of the mill.
Despite the lack of originality when it comes to the premise, the execution is actually not bad. I can say right now that I recommend it to people who are looking for something different from superhero comic, and perhaps something a lot more Japanese.
Underdog plots usually run the same course, so while I would have preferred some originality, this genre is largely about the characters over the plot. The main characters of Mill and Walt are good, though I found Walt far more interesting than Mill. Mill is a girl in a poor situation with not much self-confidence, making her character essentially a blank slate. It will be far more interesting where Watson takes her character in the next two issues than where she is now. Walt on the other hand is firmly established. Watson quickly establishes that there is more to this character than the eccentric drunk that he appears to be. He’s not Mr. Miyagi, where everything he does turns out to have a hidden purpose. Instead he seems to be a deeply flawed guy who for some reason wants to help Mill get better at tennis.
Tommy Ohtsuka does a great job with the heavily manga-inspired art. The character designs and layouts feel like they belong in Shonen Jump. I thought the style the content too, because manga has a tendency to linger on objects and the environment, which is necessary during tennis scenes. Ohtuska tends to follow the ball and look at the atmosphere. One can only have so many faces of people grunting. However, I did find that the colouring didn’t always work. Some parts of a scene like a fingernail, T-shirt or a poster are more detailed than they need to be and distract from the overall scene. The colouring also didn’t mesh with the art style that well.
What I liked about this comic was about the promise to come. If Watson can develop the characters and make the plot more interesting, reading this issue will be worth it in the long run. If not, I’ll be disappointed, but at least Marvel’s trying something different, even if the story is nothing new.