Black Badge #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Colorist: Hilary Jenkins
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Review by Greg Brothers
There are certain creative teams that as soon as I see them I know I am going to have to check out their book. After their work on Grasskings, seriously check it out, any time Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins team up I will read at least the first issue.
Black Badge #1 introduces us to an elite team that is set out on black op missions that no one else can do. So, what makes the story unique? Well the black ops team consists of Boy Scouts. Why boy scouts? Well as we find out in the first issue being a pre-teen who likes to camp and may seem a little awkward allows you access to places that others might not be able to get to.
Before I get too far into the review, one thing that generally bothers me about solicits at times is when they give too much of the plot away. I understand that you must be able to sell the book, but, at the same time, a little mystery goes and long way. Like I said before, Black Badge #1 introduces us to a group of scouts who are also a black-ops team. When we are first introduced to the team, they seem like regular kids going out on a camping trip. It is much later in the book that we find out that they indeed are a black ops team. It is a reveal that would have been much more entertaining if the solicit had not already ruined it. I am sure it was not the choice of the creators of the book to spoil it in the solicit, so I suppose I cannot really hold it against them.
The introduction of the characters is done well, and each of them is unique in their appearance and their skills. The way they are introduced at the beginning is fun as later the exact same traits are used to describe them in a different way. The story is mainly presented from Willy’s point of view. Being the newest member of the team, and on his first mission, allows for him to be part of the reveal along with the reader. It also allows the story to seem much more innocent at the beginning than it ends up at the end. Through Willy’s conversations we also find out that not everything has been revealed to the team itself (such as what happened to the former fourth member of the team). The final page provides an excellent counter balance to the first page cementing that the team is much more than they seem to others.
The character designs are sharp. Each one of them stands out from the other, making them easily recognizable, even in panels where they appear more in the background. The colors have a watercolor feel to them. The colors flow and bleed together providing some unique contrasts. For most of the book we get traditional square panels stacked upon and positioned next to each other. One difference is during a sequence where scuba diving in a dark and narrow cave is involved. Instead, here we get small panels with some art surrounded by black. It helps to reiterate the claustrophobic feel that the character would have been feeling.
Verdict: Buy it.
You can’t go wrong with this team as they show that Grasskings was not fluke. Black Badge #1 does an excellent job of explaining the characters and their unique situation without over-explaining it. The fact that there may be more sinister and deadly lessons coming just helps to hook the reader even more. The art is inviting and begs you to linger on the pages and enjoy the view. Kindt, Jenkins, and the rest of the team has a sure-fire hit on their hands if the first issue is an indication of what is to come.