In 2000 a famous band shared a now-infamous lyric with the world. When you've got to "get down with the sickness," an array of things come to mind. The band Disturbed is high up there and rock and roll as a whole isn't far away. On the opposite end of that pole is Sanrio, but the kawaii company likes few things better than total subversion. That is what the company did when it created Aggretsuko years ago, and now the series is stepping out with its own comic book series.
Aggretsuko, published by Oni Press, begins with a story that Disturbed themselves might feel some pride in reading. The series' debut starts with Retsuko working her day job at Carrier Man Trading. The poor accountant has a hard time in her department given her age and sex, but things only get worse when the C-Virus takes over.
And no, this virus is in no way related to the deadly Coronavirus beginning to spread in reality. This viral plague has everything to do with a toxic workplace. The self-aware debut makes sure to poke fun at some common pitfalls which companies suffer. One of those missteps is deadlines, and the desire to keep ahead has prompted many an employee to come in to work despite being sick. That is exactly what happens with one of Retsuko's co-workers, and the whole office quickly becomes contaminated.
In this issue, fans get a clear idea of how Aggretsuko's voice will develop. The heroine herself is quiet, but her reserved nature hides a different side. Deep down Retsuko wants nothing more than to scream out her issues at karaoke, but her 9-to-5 keeps her busy.
The colorful artwork in this issue is just what fans would expect from the comic, especially in the wake of Netflix's animated series. The only thing that lets unfamiliar readers down are the personal touches that each character receives. This debut relies on previous knowledge of Aggretsuko to settle in. Characters are introduced in a literal barrage, and it offers little opportunity for them to shine. Not even Retsuko is given an inner monologue, which leaves her personality coughing sickly on the floor.
Aggretsuko #1 is a promising starting point for Retsuko to continue her journey through the World of Adulthood. The beloved character has endeared so many fans with her show and web-shorts already, too. This new Oni Press series falls in line with those projects, but readers will walk away from this first issue wishing Aggretsuko took a moment to do something more.
Published by Oni Press
On February 5, 2020
Written by Daniel Barnes
Art by D.J. Kirkland
Colors by Sarah Stern
Letters by CRANK!