Koko Be Good by Jen Wang


Jen Wang breaks out into the comic book world with her first publication through publisher First Second. The new comic is titled Koko Be Good, and is just as entertaining as the title suggests. Koko Be Good gives readers a peep into three young people’s lives: Jon, Koko, and Faron. The boys are calmer and more grounded, but Koko’s eccentric energy keeps things lively and moving in the story. Everyone is hailing the art as uplifting, smooth and fluid. It is an original style that feels carefree and easy on the eyes. Readers will be intrigued to know that here Wang does not use stereotypical or type character designs; the characters are all unique and distinctive, which is a breath of fresh air for people who wish for some diversity.
Koko is a twenty something girl who decides it is high time to “be good.” What exactly that means, she is not sure, but this is a move that recognizably characterizes young people trying to grow up. Unfortunately, “being good” does not come naturally to her because she is very capable of creating havoc. Faron could be described as Koko’s sidekick, and he scores a part of a chapter that is entirely devoted to him “The Ballad of Faron Lau.” Despite the spotlight and amount of face time, there is still some confusion about Faron’s living situation and questionable age. Jon meets Koko and Faron at a party and becomes curious in Koko. He has a girlfriend doing missionary work in Peru, and he wishes to move there to be with her but he has a musical career to think about as well. So we are given a peek at his internal struggles, but we aren’t really given much of a chance to emotionally connect with him.

Overall, the story seems to be the most glaring error in this comic. Characters do not seem to work to achieve their goals; scenes seem rambunctious and unclear, dialogue is misplaced and difficult to understand who is speaking; readers do not really ever get inside the characters. So, it is difficult to care about the characters problems. If you want a 304 page comic, beautifully drawn, that is pretty light to read then pick up this new series Koko Be Good for $18.99. Perhaps with time the story will become more clear and involving.