Review: Kim and Kim #1
Turn on some Sleigh Bells (Veruca Salt if you’re old school) or the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, and get ready to be amazed by Kim and Kim #1. The new Black Mask series from writer Mags Visaggio, artist Eva Cabrera, and colorist Claudia Aguirre follows the adventures of Kim Q and Kim D, a pair of fast-talking, fashion forward, and not afraid to cave your face in with a musical instrument bounty hunters. As they travel the Omniverse in their flying van, they try to avoid any entanglements on the way to pay dirt, but of course, this doesn’t happen, and thus the comic has a plot. The story of ne’er do wells trying to stay solvent in a dangerous sci-fi setting has been told several times before in shows like Firefly and Cowboy Bebop, but Visaggio, Cabrera, and Aguirre put their own mark on the genre with a candy floss color palette, a shonen meets metalhead edge to some of the fight sequences, zippy banter, and most importantly, excellent LGBTQ representation.
Kim Q and Kim D are whip smart badasses, who just happen to be trans and bi respectively. Visaggio brings up their sexual and gender identities organically in the story as they lust over Saar, a sexy bounty hunter friend turned rival, in a very funny scene, and when Kim Q talks about falling out with her dad and trying to capture Quilt, a shapeshifting drug mule just to spite him. And, in some down time, they also talk about starting a punk rock bakery with cupcakes saying “queeriarchy” on them and drunkenly sing William Blake’s “Jerusalem” as Visaggio gives Kim and Kim an easy rapport and friendship and doles out exposition about the insane world with multiple dimensions and shapeshifting tentacle in a friendly, sarcastic manner via narrative captions.
A lot of sci-fi has really forced and sterile dialogue (See almost every episode of Stargate SG-1 I was subjected to in college.), but Visaggio makes Kim, and the various unsavory folk sound like actual human beings albeit much more quippier in a way that would make Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, and Russell T. Davies smile. This easygoing style along with Eva Cabrera’s anime meets trippy sci-fi art style really helped me connect to the characters, and Visaggio even introduces little personality conflicts between the Kims as Kim D is more business focused while Kim Q is more of a dreamer and emotionally driven. For example, Kim Q doesn’t want anything to do with a bounty that her father, Furious Quatro (He sounds like a razor brand geared towards toxically masculine men.) has set, but Kim D knows that their last bounty was voided so she’ll bite the bullet and do this one last job. The Kims ends up on the same page by the end of the issue, but they reach that destination (Pissing off your parents is a totally valid character motivation and adds to the punk attitude of the comic.)
Although Claudia Aguirre looked like she robbed a cotton candy stand in crafting Kim and Kim #1’s color scheme, it is actually a pretty violent comic and high energy with an air of mystery towards the beginning and the end of the issue. Like Annie Wu on Black Canary, Eva Cabrera uses the comics medium to show the “greatest hits” of a fight scene beginning with Kim Q chasing a bounty on foot and smashing them with her trusty guitar while Kim D takes out their knees with her sniper rifle. Aguirre punctuates the punches, gun shots, and broken bones with bold background color choices, including plenty of red, and the entire team turns what could be a cliched interrogation sequence into a high powered punk musical montage featuring both shopping and fisticuffs because Clovis is a multi-faceted planet. However, Visaggio and Cabrera know when to take their feet off the pedal and let Kim and Kim banter about attractive humans or plan their next move, which makes the comic both thrilling and emotionally compelling. You really care about these crazy queer kids by the end of the issue as the comic goes from something fast and loose like Firefly or SyFy’s Killjoys to a more direct space quest like Star Trek Voyager or Battlestar Galactica ,but a ton more stylish and humorous.
Kim and Kim #1 is the perfect comic for readers, who like their science fiction action-packed, character, and not sanctimonious. Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, and letterer Zakk Saam pack each panel with a great joke, intriguing mystery, detail about the wacky world around them, or best of all, a badass fighting move. If you like comics with multi-faceted female queer leads, immersive worlds, fun color palettes, or a mix of both, look no further than this book yet another in-your-face hit from Black Mask Studios.
Story: Mags Visaggio Art: Eva Cabrera Colors: Claudia Aguirre
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review