Kim & Kim #1
Writer – MAGS VISAGGIO (@magsvisaggs)
Pencils & Inks – EVA CABRERA (@evacabrera)
Colors – CLAUDIA AGUIRRE (@claudiaguirre)
Letters – ZAKK SAAM (@zakksaam)
Review by Joey Braccino
“Let’s do it. I hear the bounty is f**king ridiculous.”
Kim & Kim are omniversal bounty hunters!!! Kim & Kim are queerpunk as what!!! Kim & Kim are totally bad@$& with their flying gig van (The Contessa, obv), pink sniper rifles, and bass-guitars-for-bashing!!! Kim & Kim are also broke. As. SH!T. So Kim & Kim decide to swipe an interstellar bounty from some of their old teammates because they “hear the bounty is f**king ridiculous.” Hilarity ensues.
Kim & Kim #1 is so much fun from start to finish. Like Bill & Ted meets Tank Girl meets Sex Criminals meets Broad City meets an-example-of-transgressive-hard-sci-fi-that-I-can’t-place-right-now-I’m-sorry-I’ve-failed-you. Writer Mags Visaggio (name-dropped in this week’s Talking Comics episode! Check it!) has done tons of press discussing how important it was for her as a trans-woman, punk, and comics-creator to make a book like Kim & Kim. Her love for the project translates to some of the funniest and most authentic characterization I’ve ever read in a sci-fi comic. Kim & Kim feels like a book where literally anything can and will happen, and it’s awesome to have someone with Visaggio’s perspective and passion behind the wheel to take it there.
Our introduction to Kim Q & Kim D is a frenetic scene of broken glass, flying vans, guitar-smashing, and posing that Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre capture with vim and vigor, bright colors, and expertly sequenced lay-outs. The artwork is perfect for Visaggio’s characters and story. Equal parts Chip Zdarsky, Brittney L. Williams, and Skottie Young, Cabrera’s aesthetic walks that fine line between cartoon and pop, all the while maintain a sense of lightness and humor. From the quiet scenes to the aforementioned action sequences, Cabrera’s deft pen delivers time and time again in this first issue alone. Pair those awesome lines with Aguirre’s diverse color palette and you’ve got one hell of a visual experience from cover-to-cover. Aguirre manages to make Kim Q’s spectacularly pink hair feel unique in an omniverse filled with reds and oranges and purples. So awesome.
Finally, one last note for the letterer, Zakk Saam. I really dig Black Mask Studios’ use of skinny-tail word bubbles, and I really super-duper dig Saam’s slightly-blockier letters throughout. If you blow up the letters here, they would totally be on that mixtape your friend from HS in that garage band would give you. So punk.
And, if I could get real a second, Kim & Kim takes advantage of its sci-fi-bounty-hunting conceit to have frank discussions about sexuality, inequity, and identity. Amid all the snappy quips and high-octane bounty-hunting, there is a wonderful, funny short scene in which Kim and Kim talk about sex and boys and gender identity in a way that feels more genuine than anything I’ve read in recent years. Cabrera in particular does some brilliantly nuanced work here with Kim Q’s facial expressions during her discussion of bring a trans woman. Kudos to the creative team for including this key moment of characterization and quietude in the middle of an otherwise mile-a-minute punk rock romp through the omniverse!
Kim & Kim is the third dynamic new comic book series that I’ve read from Black Mask Studios in the last month. The publisher has done a killer job of putting books like 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, We Can Never Go Home Again, and Jade Street Protection Services out into the ether and ensuring that their unique identities and energies drew in as many readers as possible. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that all of these books deal with very real issues and often feature diverse casts or creative teams. It’s gotten to the point where I’m 100% down to check out any #1 from Black Mask Studios. Kudos.
Verdict – BUY. Kim & Kim is hilarious high-concept sci-fi with a punk edge that simply too charming to pass up. Visaggio’s sincere characterization paired with Cabrera & Aguirre’s dynamic visuals make for one of the best first issues I’ve read this year. Check it!