Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong came out about a month ago, and I keep looking back and finding new favorite moments and reasons to celebrate this awesome book about robots and cheerleaders. It's seriously become my happy place lately.
In Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, Charlie and Nate are a weirdly mismatched pair of high school friends. Charlie is the captain of the basketball team, and an all-around popular kid. Nate is a computer geek and member of the robotics club. Their unlikely friendship is fine — until the cheerleaders and the robotics club are competing for the same money. Either for uniforms, or for robot supplies. Nate declares war on the cheerleaders, running for Student Council so he can get the money. And the cheerleaders fight back, naming the perfect candidate to run against Nate: Charlie.
The high-school politics get ugly and hilarious, with the roboticists and cheerleaders competing to fight dirtier, and it's just a wee bit reminiscent of Election, which is a very good thing. But then things take a surprising turn, which I won't give away, and the whole thing just gets more and more awesome.
We featured this story back when it was a webcomic, and we've also featured the work of artist Faith Erin Hicks before. Back then, the comic was still half completed, and we expressed a hope that there would be lots of great robot action, as well as some chainsaws. Having read the whole thing cover to cover, I can attest that the robot action more than delivers, and there are chainsaw teeth if not actual chainsaws. There may be some fist-pumping as you read the final 20 or 30 pages.
Anyway, Hicks' artwork is amazing — she has a flair for comedy, and her slightly chaotic lines remind me of some of my favorite Evan Dorkin comics, weirdly enough. And writer Prudence Shen does a great job of making you empathize with all of these teenagers — yes, even the mean cheerleaders — and turning this into a great character-based story.
And that's really what's great about Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong — you get sucked into caring about these people, and about the friendship between Charlie and Nate. You want to see these kids crush the world of robotics, and you want to see Charlie cope with his divorced mom's new boyfriend. Also, you wind up rooting a lot for Joanna, one of the members of the robot club who develops a massive attachment to their new robot — and turns out to be just an amazing gladiator-robot controller. I want a sequel in which Joanna pilots a robot and takes on Hugh Jackman's character from Real Steel. I want that very badly, in fact.
All in all, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong is pretty great stuff. It's got a lot of the best elements of high-school comedies, but with slightly more complex characterization. And more than enough robot action to go around. (And you can read an interview with Faith Erin Hicks about the series over at Kotaku.) Highly recommended.