Early Review: Jimmy’s Bastards #1

Jimmy Regent, Britain’s number one super-spy, has got it all: intrigue, adventure, a license to shoot whoever he likes and beautiful women falling at his feet. He also has a new partner who isn’t quite as impressed by Jimmy as all other women appear to be. Now, there’s a price to pay for Jimmy’s multiple romantic conquests — the results of which are about to come calling in the worst possible way…

Writer Garth Ennis is very hit or miss for me. He’s either completely on or he’s completely off. With Jimmy’s Bastards #1, Ennis is completely off with a comic that thinks it’s a spoof but crosses the line with attempts at humor that’s just not that funny or entertaining.

Ennis kicks off the issue with a cross between James Bond and Batman with a sprinkling of Vince Vaughn’s Delivery Man thrown in, the latter of which will drive the story going forward.

Jimmy Regent is supposed to be Britain’s top spy but unlike Bond he, and the comic itself, is completely unaware. The writing feels like it throws out insults and comments as if to be so politically incorrect it’s cool, but instead, every joke falls flat as there’s no joke presented. Regent is sexist, misogynistic, racist, and Islamophobic all rolled into one (and that’s just what’s present in the first issue). But, where this could be done for laughs instead Regent is presented as “being progressive” since he fights for democracy which itself must be progressive (except it doesn’t have to be). There’s no self-awareness presented and where Regent could be the joke itself, the comic feels like it plays keyword bingo such as using “safe space” and “micro-aggression” much like writer Nick Spencer did in Captain America: Sam Wilson. In both instances, it all falls flat and utterly clueless.

Regent could be presented as an archaic being not with the time, much like James Bond did early on with Daniel Craig, but we get that he must actually be progressive through all of the bluster due to who he works for as if that’s a shield to excuse everything else. It’s Archer without the self-awareness and more offensiveness packed in.

It’s not all bad though. The art by Russ Braun and color of John Kalisz is really good with a Howard Chaykin influence. Without looking at the credits I wondered if it was indeed Chaykin on art. Braun presents the chaos within with a solid style and flare and Kalisz’s colors add to the experience and style as well.

Ennis has a solid concept here, a super spy who’s an anachronistic tool. But, what’s presented doesn’t really acknowledge well enough that he is indeed that or that Ennis himself is aware of the joke within. Instead, we’re presented with a comic that feels like it’s trying to be hip and edgy but the end result is a joke without a punchline.

Story: Garth Ennis Art: Russ Braun Color: John Kalisz
Lettering: Rob Steen Covers: Dave Johnson and Russ Braun
Story: 4.0 Art: 7.65 Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Aftershock Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review