When you’re committing a crime, the last place you want to be is anywhere near Harlem’s protector when she’s ticked off. So the criminals Ajala and her mentor spotted last issue are about to get a very harsh lesson in respecting your neighborhood. Dennis also knows that his apprentice needs to blow off some steam and allows her to become directly involved in the altercation knowing that it’s against C.S.C rules at this point in her career. We also see that The Quo has allies planted within the school faculty that are attempting to make moves against the C.S.C. and Ajala herself.
Garrett gives us a look at Ajala’s darker side for a moment that adds to an already wonderfully fleshed out character so far. This is a much different girl that what we’ve seen as she’s frustrated with the state of things and feels like she can do more but is held back. So when Garrett has Dennis allow her to cut loose on the criminals but still reigns her in for a teaching moment it just really shows how much Dennis respects her and is in awe of her potential as well. I’ll also admit that maybe I spoke too soon when saying that it seems as if Ajala’s parents are “at ease” with her position in the C.S.C. currently. They weren’t too happy to learn that Dennis had broken protocol and allowed her to engage the enemy and Garrett plays that sequence out perfectly.
When it comes to the visuals we get a double dose of great styles as Harris is joined by Walt Msonza Barna in this issue. Harris opens the issue with a fight scene that is spot on! From the fight choreography, body mechanics, and everything that makes a solid martial arts sequence flow well. What helps to put it over is the lack of dialogue on the panels though there is some inner monologue from Dennis as he watches his student. It’s reminiscent of fight scenes in Asian cinema that have very little speaking during a fight. Since most of Ajala’s face is covered by her mask Harris has little to work with as far as expressions go but that slight grin on her face says everything that’s needed during the fight. When we see Barna’s art it is a sudden transition due to the very different style, however, it’s just as good and consistent as what we get from Harris. The tone of the story changes at this point but he illustrates an intense meeting with Dennis and his superiors that hits some great dramatic beats along the way.
This issue wraps with a mysterious cliffhanger and proves, yet again, why this series has been receiving all of the praise and accolades since it’s debut. Ajala is here and has been the series you’ve been looking for with great storytelling, strong and kinetic artwork, and a fantastic young female protagonist. If this is what you’re looking for in your comics then it’s a no brainer that you check it out!