Fence (Issues #1-12) by C.S. Pacat – Graphic Novel Review

Goodreads: Fence
Genre: LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Sports, Manga
Panda Rating:


Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…

I stumbled upon this graphic novel as I was looking up what other LGBTQ books I could read for pride month. I’m so glad that I listened to my instinct to snatch up a copy on ComiXology because I really enjoyed this series! The characters are probably the most diverse group that I can remember coming across; like, actually. From everyone’s sexuality, their race/ethnicity, and their socio-economic backgrounds. I think this might be the most queer book I have read and I loved reading it!

In the first issue, we’re introduced to Nicholas and Seiji at the national fencing championships, where they face-off against each other in the first round. You learn a little about Nicholas’ backstory, why he wants to get into fencing, and why it’s important to him. In the next issue we’re introduced to the all boys boarding school where the subsequent episodes take place. We’re also introduced to many new faces who are part of the Kings Row fencing team, and others who trying out for it; everyone in the school seems to be low-key obsessed with fencing! The majority of the episodes focus on the try out rounds for the fencing team, where we get to know a bit more about the characters, with the main focus being on Nicholas’ struggle to succeed in the tryouts, make the team and ultimately, to beat Seiji. Of course there had to be a cliffhanger at the end of Issue #12, and I’m not sure when the next issue will be released, so here I am, not so patiently waiting for it!

I honestly loved so many of the characters; even the ones who are highly neurotic and have zero chill have somehow managed to grow on me (cough*tanner*cough). I only wished that there was more backstory shared about the characters. Everyone is *really* cute, have seemingly intriguing personalities, and we do get to see glimpses of a different side to them (families, softer sides) but I still wanted to know more about them. I especially love Bobby so I’d love to know more about him and also Seiji and Nicholas–although these are the characters we obviously know the most about so far. On that note, here are some cool graphic stats about the characters from the author’s Twitter.

Overall, I’m really excited for the next issue to come out. I want to know what happens after that cliffhanger! Who knew I’d ever be so interested in a comic about fencing? Also, why is everyone so good looking?! I’m so glad that I picked up this graphic novel 🙂

Have you read Fence? Do you have recs for other LGBTQ graphic novels for pride month? Or just any graphic novel recs in general?

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