Buzz (Oni Press)

Buzz TPB
All Images CREDIT: Oni Press

Rating: 4.5/5 – Crazy Stylized Spelling Bee Action.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Stephen Bretall.

Webster is a kid who just wants to get through school but ends up getting ucked into the crazy world of intense underground spelling bee battles. The first notable thing about Buzz is its black, white and yellow super-stylized art. It’s reminiscent of comics like Scott Pilgrim, but takes it a step further with beautiful graphic design elements and memorable character designs that are a visual treat. It takes a lot to make the concept of spelling bees as a central premise interesting, but this comic definitely manages to pull that off, so bravo to writer Ananth Panagariya, artist Tessa Stone, and designer Jason Storey.

Buzz title splash

Story-wise, the comic focuses almost entirely on the action of the spelling bees themselves, structuring itself similarly to a shonen-style battle manga or the like. The time not spent on action sequences delves into the secret plots and machinations of the various characters as they try to take down their rivals and the evil organization that backs them.  I’d have liked it if they could have spent more time developing some of the characters or presenting a more rounded view of the world, but that’s minor and didn’t detract from the fact that I loved this book.

But for what it is, a stylized action-focused tale with a sharp and unique visual style and a great sense of action and excitement, Buzz really excels.  If you want to read something different from every other comic you’ve read lately and are really curious about just how someone goes about making a story about spelling bees exciting, you should give Buzz a read.

Reviewed by: Stephen Bretall
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