I’ll read all things First Second.
Check Please! #Hockey, Vol 1 by Ngozi Ukazu
First Second, 2018
“A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.” –jacket copy
Check Please! #Hockey is structured around a vlog, hosted by Bitty who is beginning his college career at Samwell University. He’s been recruited to play hockey, and while he proves quick and agile on the ice, he is terrified of being checked. Home in Georgia, he’d been a competitive figure skater and played co-ed club hockey (no checking).
The comic follows his confrontation with his fear, his value to the team, and the drama of his teammates on and off the ice. Off the ice, Bitty moves from the dorm into the Haus with his teammates, where we become better acquainted with one of Bitty’s other passions: baking.
Check Please! #Hockey is cute. Bitty and the bros are amusing. They are rough and sensitive and provide plenty of witty banter. The star, Bitty, is the most charming—terribly sweet. The artwork is nice and appealing, pretty simple and straightforward. It’s all pretty simple and straightforward, with one little surprise at the end. I’m not sure we were to see that one coming and I didn’t take the time to reread the book to look for clues.
Check Please! #Hockey is pretty popular and I didn’t regret its amusement, but I was a bit underwhelmed. I agree that is great that Ukazu has written a queer narrative “filled with a cute romance, zero toxic masculinity, and a really great sense of male comradery” (The Mary Sue)—which is why I’d recommend hunting this one down for the read, but I’d spend the lit-budget elsewhere.
Recommended for those who like sports stories, bros, baking and/or need something light. For those who enjoy the comic strip format from newspapers.
Readers of Lucky Penny by Ananth Hirsch, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong by Prudence Shen & Faith Erin Hicks, or Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill.