If you look at the comic stands these days one could argue there isn’t much innovation going on. Multiple versions of Superman are sprouting up as they did in the 90’s, Batman is a grumpy jerk, and The Walking Dead continues to go on with no end in sight. There are however a few publishers delivering unique comic book experiences, chief among those publishers is Dark Horse. We take a look at a new series out this week to ask the question, is it good?
The Bounty #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
The official Dark Horse Comics synopsis says:
The Gadflies were the most wanted criminals in the galaxy-robbing corporations to redistribute wealth to the destitute. Now, with a bounty to match their reputation, the Gadflies are forced to abandon banditry for a career as bounty hunters . . . ’cause if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em-then rob ’em blind!
Why does this book matter?
Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe has some of the hottest, most original titles out there, from Rat Queens to the highly underrated Dia De Los Muertos, and who could forget Green Wake!? This series has a somewhat newer artist too, who clearly has a fun animated style on lock.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
When you’re a hacker you must always say, “I’m in.”
It’s pretty easy to like the characters in this book. We know up front they are very much the good guys given that they give back to the poor, but on top of that they’re very vivid in their characterization. Wiebe does a great job establishing their voices via dialogue, but also their motivations and general spunk is very obvious from the get go. The dynamic between the characters is rather obvious too and it’s clear this ragtag group of misfits take bounties for fun first and money second. At least that’s what they might be telling themselves, since they’re a bit poor as the series progresses.
Some might see some likenesses to Firefly in this series, partly because they’re spaceship travelling bounty hunters in a wild west sort of setting. They aren’t 100% good either (especially not Nina), so there’s a bit of an edge to the characters too. The characters also sit around discussing how poor they are which was a common element of Firefly, but another similarity is the tight dialogue. The characters speak in such a way that I wish I could.
The art by Mindy Lee is at times crazy good, like something Michael Avon Oeming would do but not quite as dark. There’s some truly inventive stuff on the page in this issue, like a sequence where a character is hacking a computer and it’s underwater themed. Crabs, fish and sharks all swim around the character assumingly to distract her from hacking a terminal and it’s a neat way to convey something usually very boring to look at. There’s a good use of blur, especially in the latter portion of the issue, and the characters really pop off the page. This is partly due to some fantastic colors by Leonardo Olea.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I did have trouble figuring out where characters were spatially in one action sequence due to the lack of backgrounds and the closeness of each shot. You can follow who is punching who, but how the fight is choreographed got lost on me which took me out of the fight.
There’s also a lack of cohesion between all the characters in this first issue. It’s clear how the main protagonists Nina and Georgie get along, but the hacker seems oddly distant, and it’s unclear what is going on between these other characters.
A little hard to understand how this fight sequence works.
Is It Good?
This series really pops. If you want bubbly, fun art and snappy dialogue set in space you can’t do better than this.