Review: ‘Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-0!’ Punches Out The Competition

by Rachel Bellwoar

Records may have made a comeback in the last few years, but computers changed the music industry. While, with some stories, if it weren’t for the fashions, you wouldn’t think about when they took place, the 90’s and Heavy Vinyl are a package deal. Carly Usdin has written a story that couldn’t be set any-time else and while the first volume was the same way, with entrenching its plot in the 90’s, volume two dates itself in the title: Y2K-0.

Y2K was the tech disaster people feared would occur at the start of the new millennium (New Year’s Day, 2000). The “K-0” is a cute touch circling back to what this series is all about. Y2K-0 begins about nine months after the events of volume one. Boom! Studios is releasing the series differently this time. While the first arc came out in single issues (under the name Hi-Fi Fight Club), before being collected, volume two is getting released all at once as a graphic novel (though a graphic novel that’s still divided into four chapters).

Given this story is a continuation, the first chapter is “Chapter Five,” which makes sense. Since some time has passed (both within the story and since Heavy Vinyl was published) it also makes sense that our main character, Chris, would do some recapping with Jim Campbell returning as the series’ letterer. “Some” is key however and chapter five spends way too much time going over what happened already. It’s important to bring up music producer, Rick Blaze, for example, because he’s still the bad guy, but the fact that D and Chris didn’t get along initially could’ve been something new readers found out later.

When chapter four ended, Chris and her new friends/co-workers at Vinyl Destination were about to enter Blaze’s battle of the bands competition. That’s where volume two comes in and artist, Nina Vakueva draws some great spreads where you  see them practicing as a band and also as a female fight club specializing in musical justice. They know Blaze is up to something with digital music but don’t know what.

Irene Flores with Lea Caballero inked Vakueva’s pencils and you wouldn’t necessarily realize Natalia Nesterenko had taken over for Rebecca Nalty as colorist. What does take some getting used to are some changes in Chris’ character design, like in volume one she always tucked her hair behind one ear on one side. After nine months, a person has a right to change their hairstyle but because it’s such a small change, too, it’s almost more disruptive then if she had done something more drastic, like dye her hair green. Her backwards red baseball cap was such a staple of her wardrobe in volume one as well and while she does wear it sometimes in volume two, it’s not as regular. Like Charlie Brown’s zig zag shirt, you grow attached to seeing characters wearing certain outfits all of the time.

Four issues isn’t a lot of the time, though. Their day jobs at the record store get lost in the shuffle a bit and while we get to see a few of their band practices, it’s unclear how much they knew about playing in a band going in vs how much they had to learn.

If volume one was more Chris’ book, volume two devotes space to each of the central romances, including a new one for D which is one of the best parts of this second arc (and inspires the phrase “Hours of flirty stapling later…”). Sex is touched on a little, which changes the demographic for the book. Maybe it was always supposed to be targeted towards teens, but volume one could’ve been all ages, which was kind of nice.

Whether this arc is as strong as the first one (and I’d argue the first arc was one of the best comics of 2018), it does show the characters growing up and sometimes that’s hard to accept, as much as it’s a reality.

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! goes on sale March 25th from Boom! Studios.

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