Review: No. 1 With A Bullet #1
Unlike their previous Image series Goners, which was inspired by the classic 1980s kids vs monsters genre, writer Jacob Semahn, artist Jorge Corona, and colorist Jen Hickman go for the present and future in No. 1 With A Bullet #1. The comic’s protagonist Nash Huang, a young queer woman, who is the assistant to celebrity talk show host Jad Davies and tests out special contact lenses that record everything around her and create artificial stimulus and sensations. In the wrong (or anyone’s) hands, this new tech could be creepy as hell. Jad is like Chris Hardwick yet creepier even if Semahn and Corona don’t flesh him out a lot in the first issue choosing to focus on a day in the life of Nash that starts freaky when she puts, gets normal, and yes, gets freaky to close out the book.
Jen Hickman’s disorienting yellow, black, and bloody red color palette is the real MVP of No. 1 With A Bullet‘s opening sequence. The leeching and bloodletting of Hollywood is almost literal from Corona’s opening title page of spurting blood covering the office of Jad Davies. The first few pages are intense and immersive with colors that shock and awe before pulling back and starting to build up the character of Nash and the series’ theme of invasion of privacy, and the fact that through the Internet almost anyone could ruin our lives. Conversations and activities that we once thought we thought are private could be recorded either through audio or video or live tweeted by some complete or utter stranger.
The ability to be hacked, framed, or having your private moments made public is the engine that drives the horror of No. 1 With A Bullet. It’s scary because its real; this comic (and sort of the recent Instagram generation dark stalker comedy Ingrid Goes West) made me seriously consider putting all my social media accounts or private or locked. However, Corona’s bendy anatomy and Hickman’s sometimes desert sunset, sometimes zonked out urban wasteland (The scenes where Nash runs errands in the city.) color palette keep the comic more stylized and less documentary style.
Along with the Jen Hickman’s colors and the surreal, futuristic meets this-could-be-the present images of Jorge Corona, Jacob Semahn’s strong characterization She isn’t a Final Girl, damsel in distress, or pick your trope and take a shot character, but a human woman with flaws, virtues, realistic relationships, and a sense of humor. She loves her partner, Violet, checks Twitter way too much, sometimes says problematic things, and maybe works a little too hard at her low rung on the Hollywood ladder job. Semahn’s grounded writing of Nash gives readers an anchor in the reality bending weirdness of No. 1 with A Bullet.
Social media offers a way to become famous, infamous, or something between with a hacked iCloud server or an unintentional drunk tweet or private message having scary consequences. Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman channel this primal, yet technological fear in No. 1 with A Bullet and chase it with colorscapes that will be seared into your brain and a main character that you will want to grab a drink and maybe hug.
Story: Jacob Semahn Art: Jorge Corona Colors: Jen Hickman
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.