Review – No. 1 With A Bullet #3 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jacob Semahn
Artwork: Jorge Corona, Jen Hickman (colours)
Release Date: 3rd January 2018

Following a deeply uncomfortable (but utterly gripping) second issue which gave us an unflinching look into the fallout from the leaked personal footage of Nash Huang, writer Jacob Semahn and artist Jorge Corona take us in a markedly different direction here as things continue to spiral downwards for our plucky leading lady.

Nash brings in a Detective, Grover (or “officer weird biblical doom shit”, as she calls him), to investigate the menacing message left by the intruder in her apartment, before taking a trip to the Museum of Death with her friend Rigo for what turns out to be purely selfish reasons on his part.

It actually almost feels like a different story at times here, with things getting more than a little hallucinogenic and abstract as Nash’s grip on reality gradually fades away at the Museum.  We also see her having a fairly poignant dream-like conversation with the victim of a certain high profile real-life Hollywood murder case from the 40s, and while it’s undoubtedly a neat way to show that female victims have been treated the same way by the media for decades, it also feels more than a little heavy-handed in delivering a message that has already been emphatically established during the first couple of issues.

This sequence also serves to detach us just a little from the immediacy of Nash’s situation, and feels like an unnecessary added component into what was already a fully fledged story packed with stalkers, mysteries and a stark look at the cruel world of cyber bullying and media abuse.  I’m sure Semahn and Coronoa have a plan, and I have a feeling I know what it is, but for the time being things do feel like they’re in danger of getting a little too unfocused and, in turn, losing the impact of the main story.

There are still some powerful moments along the way through, with perhaps the highlight of the issue – if you can call it that – being the montage sequence that shows the media’s reaction to Jad’s involvement in the leaked “sex tape”.  That their reaction is so completely at odds to the way Nash has been vilified and slut-shamed should probably come as no surprise to anyone, but the contradiction is given an extra layer of impact courtesy of some typically stellar work from Corona.  There’s also a neat storyline wrinkle in the way that Jad reacts to his new-found “sexual rock star” status, which takes his character in a surprising new direction.

Ultimately, in spite of what may seem like unnecessary nit-picking, I’m still absolutely loving this series. Semahn and Corona are telling a story that truly needs to be told in this day and age, but are doing it with a flair for the dramatic and a strong sense of characterisation that keeps the pages turning throughout.   I only hope that they don’t end up trying to cram too much in and ruining the fantastic potential of this series as a result, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I really have no reason to doubt this particular creative partnership.

Rating: 3.5/5.

If you want to find out more about NO. 1 WITH A BULLET, make sure to check out our interview with both members of the creative team by CLICKING HERE.

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