Review – 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #3 (Black Mask Studios)

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Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Story: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Tyler Boss
Release Date: 21st December, 2016

After a painfully long hiatus caused by some unavoidable external factors, Black Mask Studios’ 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank is back with its third issue this week, and wastes little time in reminding us within the first few pages that it’s still one of the sharpest written comics on the shelves right now.

Following the revelation that yes, Paige’s dad is actually a bank robber, our “heroes” are forced into some fairly drastic action as she concocts a plan to help get him off the hook.  This issue is packed with hilarious moments, from Paige going ‘incognito’ to case out the bank to Walter’s failed attempt to make knockout gas, and while it’s punctuated by lewdness and profanity throughout, the series still feels every bit the spiritual successor to the likes of The Goonies, Monster Squad and, latterly, Stranger Things.

For me though, the thing that’s most interesting about the series isn’t the razor-sharp dialogue of the four kids or the criminal shenanigans they find themselves embroiled in, but rather how utterly relatable it all feels. A lot of us will have grown up with a similar small circle of close friends, and the way Paige, Berger, Walter and “Stretch” bicker, banter and ultimately support one another just feels real, y’know?  Paige is also a truly fantastic creation, and the sheer ferocity of her determination is the undeniable driving force behind this book.

At first glance, the artwork of Tyler Boss could be dismissed as being merely being serviceable, with a decidedly straightforward approach and a lack of intricate detail.  To do so however would be to overlook Boss’s true artist talents, in particular his shrewd sense of visual comic timing which really helps Rosenberg’s jokes to hit their mark almost every single time.  This is a series filled with fantastic reaction shots and subtle facial expressions, and if you really need an example of just what Boss can do, a quick glance at the first few pages of each issue should be more than enough to convince you.

The final pages see our kids experiencing some genuine peril, perhaps for the first time, and hints at a slightly more serious tone – for the immediate future, at least.  That said, given the way the kids managed to overcome adversity in the first issue – by catapulting a troll (sorry, “Orc Warlord”) into a would-be assailant’s eyeball – it’s unlikely that they’ll be on the back foot for long.

If South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote a sequel to The Goonies, it’d probably be a lot like 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank.  Rude, crude, hilarious and with a surprising amount of heart, this is an absolutely essential purchase.

Rating: 5/5.

If you want to find out more about 4 Kids Walk into A Bank, make sure to check out our interview with series writer Matthew Rosenberg by CLICKING HERE.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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