Advance Review – No. 1 With A Bullet #6 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jacob Semahn
Artwork: Jorge Corona, Jen Hickman (colours)
Release Date: 11th April 2018

On sale next month, the tense, emotionally fraught conclusion to Jacob Semahn and Jorge Corona’s No. 1 With A Bullet sees Nash Huang captured and blindfolded by her stalker, trying desperately to put the pieces together in her head as the reality of her situation – and the identify of her tormentor – is finally revealed.

Semahn and Corona have already made their emphatic statement about the cruel and horrifying nature of online abuse throughout the course of this series. This was never more apparent than in issue five, which featured an indifferent public looking on as Jad Davies simply denied the accusations against him and walked away scot free, leaving Nash’s life in tatters.  It’s worrying just how relevant this all feels in the modern #MeToo world, with the public reaction to Nash’s “sex tape” feeling like it could have been ripped from any real life Twitter feed about a similar subject.

Their point well and truly made, the creators opt to switch gears here and let the more fictionalised aspects of their story take us home.  Semahn and Cornona also make sure to throw in a few more twists and turns for good measure, keeping the reader guessing until the very last page (and beyond!), while still managing to provide a satisfying and genuinely chilling denouement to their story.

Artist Corona has a somewhat tricky job for the first half of this issue, trying to keep the story flowing smoothly in spite of the bulk of the panels coming from the perspective of the blindfolded Nash.  However, rather than diminishing the effect, this actually serves to make the grand reveal all the more impactful, with an understated flourish that quickly leads into some rapid-fire action moments.

Corona has been a favourite of mine since his work on Feathers at BOOM! Studios, and his greatest gift continues to be his ability to make what is ostensibly a cartoony style crackle with drama and emotion.  In a lesser artist’s hands the gravity of the situation could be hampered by the over-exaggerated facial expressions and almost caricaturized style, but Corona makes it work time and time again, with this issue serving as yet another glowing testament to his skill.

The conclusion, while pretty far removed from a “happy ending”, has some real understated power to it, and while there’s still an (intentionally) troubling level of ambiguity at play, there’s no denying that Nash’s character arc ends in a thoroughly satisfying manner.

Part social commentary, part tense thriller, No. 1 With A Bullet delivers on both counts, providing a gripping and worryingly relevant read that comes highly, highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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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