Review – Punks Not Dead #4 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing (Black Crown imprint)
Writer: David Barnett
Artists: Martin Simmonds, Aditya Bidikar
Release Date: 9th May 2018

It’s frustrating to read an issue like this, but in a good way. Barnett has that beautiful way of writing where you know he already has it all laid out and he’s taking pleasure in continuing to stringing you along,  giving you some pieces of the puzzle while dropping more bombs and laughing maniacally in the distance while you shout “what the fuck!?” at a particular speech bubble.

Issue 4 starts with a cliff-hanger and keeps you on edge for the rest of the issue. The narrative jumps effortlessly between Fergie and Sid trying to break up a pensioner rave and Asif’s monologue/report of Culpepper to his superior, while also giving us glimpses of the other characters on their interlocking journey.

It’s a blender mix of genres with so many things going on that you might feel dizzy trying to keep up with it. On the one hand you have the imaginary friend and coming of age story of Sid and Fergie, where you’re trying to figure out this supernatural quest that they’re on and work out just who Sid is. On the other you have a reflection of current teenage subcultures butting heads with the original mod and punk cultures that defined them. Oh, and there’s an interesting sub-theme which asks whether soul of these movements really died or just evolved into something new?

Oh, and to top it all of you have a spy thriller packed with double crosses, Kingsman-esque supernatural styling of Culpepper and Asif with a bit of social commentary on old fashioned views clashing with this current time of sexual identification freedoms.

Bloody hell! Just writing that made my head spin! Try reading it and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I have to praise Martin Simmonds yet again with just how perfectly his art matches the tone of the story.  While the script is the alcoholic base of the story, Simmonds draws the illusory mixer that makes the perfect comic cocktail to really get you hammered. The style not only delivers a dream-like feel, but the little additions and cutaways maintain that punk theme with call-backs to the ‘kidnappers note’ style of the Never Mind The Bollocks album art.

When you finish this issue you’ll be asking questions for the rest of the day. If Sid’s not Sid then who, or what, is he? Who’s Fergie’s real dad? Who’s the bloke at the end and how in the hell will this all fit together in the end?

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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