Misogyny Never Changes (No. 1 With A Bullet #3 Review)

Nash reports a break-in and is treated like the cause. The media attention turns its eyes to Jad Davies and his involvement in the making of the sex tape. Nash gets a look into the past through a popular figure in American history.

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NO. 1 WITH A BULLET #3
Writer: Jacob Semahn
Artist: Jorge Corona
Cover Artist: Jorge Corona
Colorist: Jen Hickman
Publisher: Image Comics

What You Need To Know:
In the not too distant future, a social media addicted 20-something named Nash Huang deals with a series of circumstantial suicides happening around her while also being the victim of an internet hacker, who has released a non-consensual sex tape to the world.

In the fallout of the sex tape scandal, her girlfriend has left her, she’s been fired from work, and the entire world looks at her in new and gross ways. After feeling she shouldn’t have to bear the burden of shame alone, Nash admits in a live stream that her former boss, Jad Davies, was the creator of the recording. After realizing her confession was encroached upon by a mysterious figure peeking out of her closet, she finds that someone has broken into her home and left a cryptic message on her wall.

What You’ll Find Out:
The morning after the break-in, Nash has called the police and is giving a statement to the detective. Upon finding the biblical verse and asking Nash who might have an access to her door lock app, the detective makes assumptions that this is someone who was disgruntled by Nash’s sex tape going public. Nash makes the connection between a man who has been messaging her online, @mancomesaround and the stalker. A message received shortly after the break-in confirms that he was the mysterious figure hiding in her closet.

Meanwhile, the reaction to Jad’s involvement in the sex tape scandal is illustrated through media outlets and public opinion. It is revealed Jad is forced into hiatus from his show, but for the most part, the reaction is positive, with men envying him and women craving him.

A few days later, Jad gets a call from his Public Relations agent who has been hard at work spinning the story in his favor. Jad has turned from late night TV host into a full-blown sex symbol, but the effects are lost on Jad, who feels conflicted. While trying to reconcile his feelings about saving the video on his computer, but also keeping his belief he is a good person, his PR agent tries to convince him to explain the two were drunk, and that the tape was consensual. Jad’s conscience won’t allow him to do it. He says upon his return to the show the following day he will make a statement regarding the tape.

Elsewhere, Rigo has taken Nash out to the Museum of Death with the intent of using her to garner some artistic inspiration from her current suffering. Nash, disgusted, has a vision containing The Black Dahlia and runs off, finding herself in a back room of the museum. The Black Dahlia, calling herself Beth, parallels the situation of Nash’s current scandal, and the sensationalism that was constructed around her own murder.

Conversation with Dahlia

Nash wakes up to Rigo telling her she trashed the museum and that they had to leave because the cops had been called. In a daze, Nash agrees and they head for the door, only to be stopped by two officers.

What Just Happened?
A satirical, misogynistic society is at the core of this book, and once again nothing is spared to reflect the nasty reality of its effects. Nash has asked for help with her stalker and has been assigned a detective who talks down and belittles her. On the bright side, now that Nash has outed her boss, she seems quicker to defend herself, but of course, the detective side-steps her concerns and criticises Nash’s emotion as a weakness.

The scene involving public reaction to Jad’s involvement in the tape is a frightening mirror of reality. In contrast with issue #2’s page on Nash’s role in the video, media perception is mostly positive for Jad. Media outlets comment on his virility and the size of his dick are a majority in public reaction. Once Jad has a chat with his PR agent, it is clear that the entire story has been spun in his favor. Luckily for someone of star status, like Jad, he can afford to pay someone to twist the story into a positive lean. But for someone like Nash, the constant downward spiral is hard to pull up from.

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The parallels drawn between the sex tape scandals and the media coverage of The Black Dahlia is nothing short of brilliant. Elizabeth Short, murdered in 1947, had much of her life speculated and sensationalized after her murder. Theories ranging from prostitution, pregnancy, and even assumptions as to the size of her vagina were all fair game in media coverage of the unsolved crime. Nash falls victim to the sensationalism, asking if one of the theories are true, to which The Black Dahlia reprimands her, questioning whether she’s learned anything from her current persecution in the media.

This scene echoes earlier scenes in which Nash was quick to condemn Vanessa Green and blame her circumstances as self-inflicted. Nash is slowly learning how deeply misogyny is interwoven into our culture but still hasn’t programmed herself to think outside of it. Watching her growth over the coming issues will hopefully bring her from product of society to activist for those wronged by its chauvinistic effects.

Corona’s execution of design stands out in this issue. The separation between everyday life and chaos is of particular importance. The panel design used in Nash’s hallucination is off centered, chaotic, and destabilizing, giving the reader the sense of imbalance that Nash feels. The contrast it creates with the nine-panel grids used in everyday conversations throughout the rest of the issue makes it a particular stand out moment so far in the series.

The series stays strong overall attacking modern culture through blatant satire. It is almost as if the book says what men in power must think, but never actually say out loud for fear of being called out for their sexism. Power dynamics are at the core of the story, and the book does an excellent job of making Nash feel like she is up against a giant.

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Rating: 8.9/10

Final Thought: Shaping into a David and Goliath story, No 1 With a Bullet puts a woman against a culture. Our hero even internalizes the culture that snubs her but shows growth in rectifying her feelings and standing up for herself. In contrast, the men show their true colors in this issue. And it’s not pretty for anyone involved.


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