Review – Bonehead #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Rhoald Marcellius
Colourist: Sakti Yuwono
Letterer: Imam Eko & Jaka Ady
Release Date: 27th December 2017

In this high-octane parkour-action epic, a futuristic megalopolis under heavy surveillance sees the rise of “Bonehead” gangs – street-gangs that use neuro-linked VR helmets to augment their abilities and wage war for control of the city. As a gang war threatens to tear the city apart, a mysterious “Bonehead” without a past, known only as 56, holds incredible abilities that may just be the key to turning the tide of the future of a city under threat.

If you’re all-in for a high-octane parkour-action epic, then this first issue surely delivers. Rhoald Marcellius, with lush colours by Sakti Yuwono, brings Bryan Hill’s world and concept to life in stunning fashion, with some genuinely dynamic action included within these pages. The cityscape is detailed and teeming with life; highlighted by the blues and grey of only the best sci-fi worlds. Bright holograms proliferate the pages and backgrounds are packed with fully-fleshed out details like advertisements. The “Boneheads” and “Gladiators” are wonderfully characterised and stylised, with bright colours and slick outfits that stand out from any other book on the shelf.

And when it comes to the action, Marcellius’s understanding of movement from panel-to-panel, as well as the articulate detail given to rendering every jump, swing and movement of limbs means that you feel every part of this ride. Nothing is spared when it comes to parkour and action, making this issue feel as close as you can get to the thrills of a Hollywood action blockbuster in comic form. That said, the layouts could possibly be used a little more creatively to add to the dynamic action.

However, where this issue really falls down as its first outing is in its lack of feeling like a proper start to a larger narrative. In this first issue, we see 56 make his way through the city, proving himself to some unnamed character for some reason that isn’t explained. It gives the issue time to explore the state of the streets, meet some (a few) key players in the gang war and just generally learn the territory of where we’ll be seeing this story play out in.

But at the same time, we don’t really learn anything about the history to this world and its technology, nor do we find out who these characters really are, what their motivations are outside of surface-level machinations, or what they want to achieve. The solicitation’s discussion of “the key to saving the city’s future” and “a story about technological and human revolution” just isn’t on display in this first issue. Obviously a first issue can’t have all these things, nor would I expect it to; but having none makes it feel more than a little lacking. Mystery abounds too of course, but that still doesn’t entirely make up for what this issue lacks.

Bryan Hill has a fantastic world and concept on his hands, and scripting for a fast-paced action adventure, but this first issue purely stands as a long chase scene and a ‘proof of concept’ for his world.

In terms of art and action, Bonehead #1 is incredibly strong, and on those merits alone, this is a captivating first issue. Sublime action is brought to life in these pages, making it a stimulating read, but an issue without much narrative or character building means this one may not sell you itself well enough just yet. The interest and longevity of the series will come down to having an interesting story to pair with good action, and I’ll need to see a narrative forming in the next couple of issues to keep me coming back to the world of Bonehead.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Connor Stephens
Connor Tweets from @diddlesMVP


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