I was exposed to Hope Larson through her work on Batgirl, so getting a look at her work outside the superhero milieu was at the very least going to be interesting. But jumping onto a comic sight unseen can be a difficult proposition given the push towards serialization in comics, that being said though: Goldie Vance does a fantastic job of straddling the line between being inviting to a new reader, as well as continuing its ongoing story. It also fills a pretty nifty void in the “plucky teen detective” genre which isn’t a particularly huge genre in comics (as far as I know anyway). Larson and Jackie Ball certainly waste no time in giving you a quick insertion point into life through Goldie’s perspective as a burgeoning teen detective. While admittedly unfamiliar with the ongoing story of Goldie Vance, Larson and Ball give you all the information you need, and you’re given many reasons to attach yourself to the characters.
Where the book also shines though is a synthesis in the tone of the writing and the art. Noah Hayes brings a very light cartoonish touch to the art that allows for a great deal of flexibility in managing the light-hearted nature of the book, as well as giving a chance for Hayes to show off his skill for faces and physical comedy in the context of Goldie Vance and its heightened reality. That work also benefits tremendously from the light colors that Sarah Stern employs, aiding in creating the unique look at work here.
Those elements work together to create a very unique all-ages comic. Which is a dirty in comics: a medium that loves to remind you that it’s not for kids anymore. That comics aren’t written for all audiences is something of a lost art at times in the greater “Big Three” context, but it’s as important to be able to write a comic that can speak to more people than a few, and that’s something Goldie Vance has in spades. Being youthful and being childish are two very different things, a lot of “adult” books can hew towards the latter in their quest to look cool. And this book definitely has youthful charm in spades.
Four Prescription Ones out of Five