Review – BANG! #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Colours: Nayoung Kim
Lettering: Nate Piekos
Release Date: 19th February 2020

BANG!, the brand Dark Horse Comics mini-series from Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres, on sale this Wednesday, has certainly gone all-out with its marketing thus far. Prior to its release, the publisher took its sweet time drip-feeding information about it, gradually un-redacting the creative tea and teasing parts of the mind-bending plot. And wait, is that a Keanu Reeves’ pull quote on the cover?

Secret Agent Thomas Cord is the best of the best. Cocky, skilled and blatantly misogynistic in that old-school James Bond kind of way way, the opening of this issue lets us see him strutting his stuff as he escapes from a near-death experience to overcome some generic henchmen and steal a priceless book. It’s all well-executed superspy action drama for the most part… until it becomes something else entirely, that is.

Bang, indeed.

See, anyone familiar with Kindt and his work on the likes of Mind MGMT knows that he doesn’t like to play things too straight. And while it’s all delivered a little too straight-faced in the early going to allow the reader to relax entirely, things do take an entirely unexpected right turn in the final pages, sending us careening off in a whole new direction.

I’m not going to dive too deeply into the specifics (books like these are best experienced without too much prior knowledge, after all), but there are a lot of different ideas being swirled around here, from classic pulp serials to more modern action fare, with plenty of nods to the likes of Murder She Wrote, Die Hard and – of course – 007 himself along the way.

Torres does a typically strong job on the visual side of the book, working seamlessly with colourist Nayoung Kim to deliver a stripped-down aesthetic that keeps things flowing smoothly without ever losing itself in the detail. The action is well executed, feeling more like snapshots than fluid motion (believe me, it works), and the characters are all expressive yet ever-so-slightly sterile, a vibe which actually helps to accentuate the growing feeling of ‘hang on, something’s not quite right here’ throughout the issue.

The final pages jerk the wheel again with the introduction of fiction writer Philip K. Verve and a cadre of new characters, mostly likely leaving the reader’s head spinning as they try to figure out exactly what the hell is going on. I’ll personally admit that I have absolutely no idea where this story is going, but I’m completely hooked!

Kindt is a writer whose track record all but guarantees that going to at least check out everything new he releases, but even with that said, I had absolutely no idea I was going to enjoy BANG! as much as I did. I’ve been waiting for my first new series to get really excited about in 2020, and I think BANG! may well be the one. Next month can’t come quickly enough.

Rating: 4.5/5.


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