In the debut issue off Kim & Kim, two best friend bounty hunters try to improve their fortunes by going after a bounty that doesn’t belong to them. But trouble finds them where they least expected it. Is it good?
Kim & Kim #1 (Black Mask Studios)
Kim & Kim are rocker girls trying to keep their heads above water financially in the cutthroat world of bounty hunting. And in this omniverse, they are competing against a bounty hunter collective so powerful, it has folk hero status amongst the lower classes of the rim planets. Another complication? Kim Quatro is the daughter of the leader of said collective, and their relationship is currently strained at best. The girls are on their last dollar when they learn about an incredibly rich bounty and decide to try and capture him from under the nose of the collective. And that’s when things get complicated.
Is It Good?
Let’s start with the good: this is a fun concept and a story that isn’t taking itself too seriously. The action is solid, the colors are perfectly bold and almost bubbly, and the dialog is snappy and fun. I’m intrigued by the characters, who are given a lot of depth in a short amount of time, and the world seems fun, if not filled with entirely new ideas. And I absolutely can’t stress how awesome it is to have an all-ladies creative team and a trans writer bringing trans and queer characters to the book. We don’t have enough of them, and we need more.
And overall, I do like this book! But given that this is a first issue for a brand-new series, I felt like it needed a bit more fleshing out to truly introduce us to this world and these characters. And while it’s fun and exuberant, there are times when it felt like it was trying just a little too hard to capture that quirky/fun tone.
For example, to start with something nitpicky, I’m not sure why Kim Q has a guitar for a weapon. Yeah, it looks cool and it’s funny to see her whapping folks upside the head with it, but it doesn’t really fit with the fact that these ladies are actual bounty hunters, especially with Kim’s background. There’s a fine line between fun and silly, and the bits that are silly can work, like their convo describing Columbus as “sexual in the way that a giant albino spider is sexual”. That make me laugh out loud. But other silly bits fall kind of flat.
In fact, the scenes that really succeed are the conversations–Columbus and Saar trying to convince the Kims to take on the bounty, the Kims talking about Kim Q’s dad, and especially the van scene where you learn Kim Q is trans. We’re let into their world and relationship and it’s handled very deftly, that the reveal doesn’t take you out of the story, or even feel like a reveal.
The art has a similar problem, that Cabrera feels like she’s trying to serve two masters. It has an almost cartoonish quality, more webcomic than traditional comic, which mostly works with the irreverant tone of the story, but can be quiet and more studied in the serious moments. I really like her facial expressions. But some parts of the battle sequences are odd, like the bullet trails, and can be a bit hard to follow.
There are a couple things that really didn’t work for me – the first person narration boxes felt random and inconsistent; I couldn’t figure out why Kim Q was talking to us in those moments they popped up. And the lead-hunting sequence set to a song – I get what they were trying to do, but it just felt odd and out of place. I actually had to go back and reread that sequence a couple of times to figure out what was happening. That was the moment that felt the most like it was trying too hard.
This is the kind of book I want to support for many reasons and there is a lot here that I genuinely enjoyed. I’m definitely sticking around, but I hope the team will settle in and hit hard on the things that work best.