Review: Kim and Kim #1

KIM & KIM #1 11Black Mask Studios rolled out Kim & Kim this week, and it’s getting a lot of buzz for its cast of queer characters and their bonkers sci-fi adventuring.

Our titular heroines are Kimiko “Kim Q.” Quatro and Kimber “Kim D.” Dantzler, best friends embroiled in interdimensional bounty-hunting. The general concept  is a lot of fun – I love bounty hunter narratives, especially if they involve space and/or other dimensions and kick-ass ladies; however, certain things didn’t jibe with my personal taste in comics. I go back-and-forth on how well Kim Q’s first person narration works, and I hope it’s going to prove to be a valuable element of the storytelling and in connecting readers with Kim herself, even though device often feels tired. The opening “In about three seconds I’m gonna come crashing through a window” was especially hammy, and hard to not roll my eyes at. I also often felt the dialogue was trying too hard to be snarky and edgy. While the cover art is pretty slick, the general aesthetic isn’t one I typically enjoy – overly cartoony and poppy but with violence and swearing, I could see myself really enjoying Kim & Kim more when I was 14. Claudia Aguirre’s color palette is my favorite part of the artwork by far – punchy and vibrant, it left me wanting a pack of fruit stripe gum. At best I’d describe Kim & Kim as Tank Girl lite, just to be nice, because I really want to come around to liking it. Its shortcoming could very well be the nature of a pilot issue finding its footing and, despite my criticisms, it was still a fun read.

A lot of the pull-quotes for the first issue center on the fact that the Kim & Kim is LGBTQ-positive, even describing the work itself as “queer as shit,” which is great to advertise proudly – it’s a huge part of what drew me into reading it. Yet I actually found the queer element to be pretty casual and organic, and I liked that. Kim Q mentions her status as trans offhandedly while she and Kim D. hang out and drink after a lost bounty, and I appreciate that the moment wasn’t forced exposition nor did it land as gimmicky. I did find myself wondering what other elements of the comic beyond gender ID/sexual orientation might be considered uniquely queer – the outlandish style and sassy attitudes landed more as standard dystopian punk than queer-specific in my eyes, but I’m saying that from the perspective of someone who embraces the queer label despite being cis/heteroflexible – in other words, I know I’m not exactly an authority on the word though I may feel I identify with it. It got me wondering, is dystopian punk queer by nature? I’d love to see some thoughts on that in the comments section.

Story: Mags Visaggio Art: Eva Cabrera Colors: Claudia Aguirre
Story: 8 Art: 5 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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