Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artist: Rhoald Marcellus
Publisher: Image Comics
In the last issue of Bonehead, we saw Hill take what seemed to be a shallow superpowered-tech comic upon its debut issue, and giving it a sense of direction through a real introduction to its characters. One of the things that makes a comic like this work is balancing the scale that is character moments vs. action. Luckily, Hill caught on to this, because with Bonehead #3 it seems that this creative team has really found their footing and issue #2 wasn’t just a one-off.
In the last issue, we learned of the dangerous drug, Vivid. Now we get to see Hideki start to deal with the case along with his superiors behind the scenes. Seemingly not used to taking no for an answer, Hideki considers once again donning the mask of his alter ego, Blackdeath, to tackle this case through unconventional means. Meanwhile, we have 56, who must prove himself to a rag-tag gang of Boneheads by taking on its leader through a parkour game meant to test his skills.
If this comic decided to just focus on the silent 56, like I was worried it was going to do in the first issue, it would not work given where it was going. Now we have Hideki in the picture though, and he is still very much the most interesting character. I am totally okay with him taking the narrative wheel here because right now he has a more vital purpose. However, that’s not to take anything away from 56. As a secondary story, he serves to bring the majority of the charm and action here, and it works. Hill highlights Vivid at the beginning of this issue, showing how it is affecting citizens that happen to indulge. This was effective in showing us why this is such a big issue and case for the Gladiators. I wonder how 56 will react when he runs into this drug out there on the streets. One thing I did find annoying (I hate when any book does this) was that the cover art displays this hulking new character. Like all the character designs in the book, he looks great, so I was interested in learning more about him. However, you don’t really get a good look at this character until the last page, where he then proceeds to say perhaps the most cliche evil dialogue of all time, not giving me any insight into his character or what is to come, whatsoever.
Marcellus continues to give this book it’s sleek techno-futuristic look, and never once does he falter in doing so. One highlight, in particular, was this striking video game inspired double-page spread he illustrates here, health bars included. He continues to have a lot of fun drawing the layouts, which are pretty clever and always feel fresh. He clearly has a knack for action sequences in particular, and it shows. For a book partly about freerunning pseudo-cyborg parkour gangs, they found an artist who can not only portray the physical rush but who can continue onward with clean artistic landings, making jumping around the page feel like a shot of adrenaline. All that’s missing here is a thumping electronic soundtrack to set to it.
Verdict: Buy it.
In Bonehead #3, Hill and Marcellus continue on their upward swing of quality since the first issue. Now that the plot seems to really be in motion with Hideki, 56, and even Aleph, they have found a tighter and more efficient formula to use, making this story, and its world, much easier to get behind.