Writer: Jim Rugg, Brian Maruca/ Artist: Jim Rugg / Image Comics
Street Angel is a weird series. It features a young girl known as Jesse “Street Angel” Sanchez, an orphan whose background includes skateboarding, martial arts, and fighting ninjas – in that order. She’s rescued the mayor’s daughter from a supervillain, fought Satanists with the help of Jesus, and prevented time traveling pirates from getting into a brawl with ninjas. Yup weird. Yet, there’s something intriguing about this protector of the poor and forgotten.
Surprisingly, you’ll get none of that in this book. The latest addition to the saga of Street Angel takes the deadliest girl alive to juvie for an adventure that is ironically a lot tamer than some of her others. In fact, Jesse is sporting a positive attitude, a sharp contrast from the all-business demeanor she sports in earlier books. You would think that with a title like Street Angel Goes to Juvie, we would be getting a book about our ninja-fighting heroine having to survive the rough realities of prison. Instead, we are treated to a story that is surprisingly more lighthearted than I thought it would be.
It’s actually really fun to see the usually straight-laced heroine take juvie in stride. She carries most of the book with her optimism and completely makes prison her own. Her positivity is infectious, too, as she quickly makes friends and somehow makes lock-up a better place. Jim Rugg’s scratchy art style also adds to the feeling that Jesse is having the time of her life, as well as showing off her manic and crazy personality. A lot of the time it feels like a funny comic strip out of the Sunday newspaper.
It’s a bit sad once you think about the fact that Jesse enjoys her time in juvie so much. As a homeless orphan who constantly has to fight and scrap for herself, you can tell Jesse feels more comfortable being on the inside than she has ever felt being on the streets. While her time in the slammer ultimately comes to an end, the conclusion to the story is pretty sweet. I also like that this issue develops Jesse’s character. She develops from just the girl who can do anything into someone who you can tell pays attention and cares. She’s still an unstoppable, genius, karate girl but one with a heart of gold.
Street Angel Goes to Juvie is actually my first time reading any of the books in the series. Afterward, I took a dive into her earliest books to get some context about the character. Not having any context can be a little confusing at first and leave you wondering what you just read. On the other hand, reading her other adventures isn’t necessary and doesn’t really add to the story being told. When you realize that none of this is to be taken seriously, I can safely say that readers who are new to the series can enjoy and read this book just fine.
In the end, Street Angel Goes to Juvie is as good a place to start as any if readers want to follow the adventures of Jesse. The series a weird and ultimately ridiculous world to jump into, but that’s part of its charm. Street Angel Goes to Juvie is available for pre-order now from Image Comics, and will be out on the streets the first week of May.
8 Shiraz Thunderbirds out of 10