A best-of-the-best secret agent with memories he couldn't possibly possess, a mystery writer in her 60s who spends her retirement solving crimes, a man of action with mysterious drugs that keep him ahead of a constant string of targeted disasters, a seemingly omnipotent terrorist organization that might be behind it all...
And they're all connected to one man: a science-fiction author with more information than seems possible, whose books may hold the key to either saving reality or destroying it.
We often talk about “worldbuilding” in series, particularly as a series debuts and is finding it’s footing. What sort of world is this? Who occupies it? Political structures? Economy? Often these questions are answered early in a new series and we call this worldbuilding.
But worldbuilding has other connotations as well. In the realm of discourse and narrative, it is the creation of the text. It’s a notion that, in simple, reductionist terms, the story itself is bigger than the author or the reader because of what both sides of the equation bring to the discussion. It is, in essense, building a world for ideas to circulate. In that equation, both reader and author are, in a way, gods of that world that they have built together. To me, this notion is what BANG! is about.
When we meet the character of Phillip Verve, a pulp author, we learn that he has been writing characters and stories into life, notably the story of our Bond-esque spy protagonist, Thomas Cord. There is a glorious metafictional element throughout this book as we meet Cord, see Cord die, and then become reaquainted with a new Thomas Cord. This narrative movement mimics the mythical quality of pulp (and comics) heroes, as they pass through time and adapt to our world while remaining firmly entrenched in their own. Matt Kindt is writing a story about stories and their evolution through time and space.
Unsurprisingly given the creative team, BANG! #1 is one of the most innovative comics I’ve read this year. The strength of the book lies in the symbiosis of art and text. Wifredo Torres does an astounding job of evoking the familiar tropes the story toys with while Kindt is busy turning those tropes upside down. There is a perfect harmony in the asymmetry between the two creators.
Often in the realm of comics, we tend to base recommendations on “if you’re a fan of superheroes” or “if you’re a fan of sci-fi” or what have you. I recommend this book to anybody who is a fan of stories, which– let’s be honest– is pretty much all of us.
BANG! #1(Kindt, Torres) comes out of the gates swinging with one of the sharpest comics you're likely to find on the shelves this year. Witty, fast-paced, intelligent, and gorgeous.
BANG! #1: Stories About Stories
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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