The Black Badge program has been around for generations, and has a storied history to match. The Black Badge program is built on legacies, on recommendations, on families. How many fathers have sent their sons to a new class of Black Badges. This issue looks back at a previous generation of Black Badge, and the family ties that connect them to the current generation.
When somebody told me this book was basically “boy scouts are recruited to be assassins,” I knew that I was going to be reading this book without ever touching the previous five issues. And holy crap was I not disappointed.
As a jumping on point, this was a really easy place to get into the story. The gist of a Kingsman-like training facility for kids is effectively conveyed before the story proper starts, allowing new readers to start with a comic that is absolutely needs to be read.
Matt Kindt, perhaps one of the best writers in comics right now, delivers a story that had my jaw on the floor by the second page. He doesn’t shy away from the shit that men put women through on a daily basis when the discussion to establish the Pink Badges occurs very early in the comic, and he delivers this in a frank and disarming way. It’s out of the blue, and shocking in the simplistic verbal brutality, but that’s the entire point. It’s simple. It’s frank. It’s brutal. And it’s all too real. Up until this page, Tyler Jenkins (illustrations) and Hilary Jenkins (colours) had been reminiscing in the past with sepia tones over art that’s not quite impressionistic but isn’t exactly “classical” comic style, either. But when the story shifts, to the aforementioned page, the colours are surprisingly warm; the figures depicted on the page are not.
Amazingly, the rest of the book doesn’t disappoint after the incredible start, and by the time the final page arrived I found myself wondering where the the comic went, so I read it again. And again.
Without going into story specifics with the remainder of the comic, the thematic element established early continues on, albeit in a less in-your-face (but oddly no less subtle) manner. It is absolutely worth you figuring out what’s meant by that on your own, because Kindt, Jenkins and Jenkins do not let off on the quality of the comic at all. How Black Badge passed me by, and how this isn’t being talked about more is beyond me.
Fuck me, but this book was brilliant. Add it to your pull list today, and I promise you you won’t regret it.
Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tyler Jenkins
Colours: Hilary Jenkins Letters: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy. Buy it right now.
Boom provided a FREE copy for review