The most punk rock, queer girl bounty hunters are back with vengeance and a side of feels in Kim and Kim: Love is a Battlefield #1. A simple bounty with a big payout goes bad when Kim D’s ex, Laz (Who is the worst ever.) happens to live on the same planet where they’re collecting the bounty. Kim Q also runs into Saar, who worked for her evil dad, Furious, back in Kim and Kim. Punches are thrown, drinks thrown down, and there are bad decisions all around in a hell of a first issue from the Eisner nominated team of writer Mags Visaggio, artist Eva Cabrera, and colorist Claudia Aguirre.
Love is a Battlefield #1 has great banter, action, and definitely got a glow-up in the fashion and hairstyle department. However, what makes this best issue of Kim and Kim yet is the sharp focus of Visaggio’s script. She kicks it Aristotle’s dramatic unities style, and the issue only takes place on the party planet/artificial island of Kinna over a single crazy night with a tight knit cast of the Kims, Laz, and Saar for a little bit. The strong, linear plot allows Visaggio, Cabrera, and Aguirre to zero in on the relationship between the Kims and also Kim D and Laz.
Love is a Battlefield a sci-fi story where rhino holograms and shooting blue space goo at your partner in crime is a normal occurrence. It’s also filled with relatable moments like loving your friend, but hating their bad decisions as seen in Kim D’s narration when Kim Q rushes their bounty, Symanski, and hits him with her bass instead of letting Kim D snipe him. This continues when Kim D almost gets back with her ex, Lax, who really just wants to steal their bounty, which has to be verified with a vial of his blood. Visaggio and Cabrera play the scene like two exes reconnecting complete with red hearts from Aguirre, and they make small talk about their employment and joke about an old TV show they watched. But then it’s all gun toting, wrestling, and getting screwed over.
Kim Q and Kim D’s dynamic is personally strengthened by the comfort and comedy they bring to each other when having ex drama. Kim Q stutters and slurs her dialogue when Kim D catches her in the bathroom with Saar awkwardly adjusting her top, but Kim D is supportive and orders a round of drinks. Likewise, Kim Q is there to poke all kind of holes in the non-existent ship that is Kim D and Laz with non-stop snarky comments about Laz and her utter terribleness and nesting behavior. This support increases when basically everything hits the fan towards the end of Love is a Battlefield #1 and is symbolized by Cabrera’s simple panel of Kim and Kim holding hands. The issue definitely has a down ending, but Kim Q and Kim D are still together and ready to kick ass and eat terrible noodles.
Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre bring a slick, fun, yet detailed art style and color palette to Love is a Battlefield #1. Aguirre’s pulsating color palette and the deep red of Kim Q’s new shades definitely get the party started. They kill at the club scene perfectly melding dance moves with some crucial worldbuilding from Mags Visaggio. Kim Q and Kim D’s actions at the club on Kinna also reveal their characters with Kim Q being the life of the party and doing shots while Kim D chills out with her self-titled snapback pulled down low. (It gets used as a coaster in one of the funnier visual jokes of the comic.) And when the firing starts, Cabera uses a tight six panel grid for confrontations between characters and firearms and then opens up the page when a chase begins. You won’t miss a single punch or sniper shot thanks to Cabrera’s clean inking and Aguirre’s colors that are bright, but not nauseating.
What made Kim and Kim such an endearing and enduring series was the fantastic personalities of Kim Q and Kim D and the bond they shared through their picaresque adventures. Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre triple down on this in Kim and Kim: Love is a Battlefield #1 while adding layers to Kim D’s backstory and tension to the plot through the introduction of her ex Laz.
This comic is the epitome of radness, and there’s a bonus essay from Elle Collins in the back about how LGBTQ characters are paired off in fiction and not given as complex interpersonal and romantic relationships with other queer people. That’s obviously not the case in Kim and Kim: Love is a Battlefield.
Story: Mags Visaggio Art: Eva Cabrera Colors: Claudia Aguirre
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review