13th Feb2018

‘No.1 With a Bullet #4′ Review (Image Comics)

by Dan Clark

Written by Jacob Semahn | Art by Jorge Corona | Published by Image Comics

no-1-with-a-bullet-4-cover

Considering the timely story of No.1 With a Bullet it is surprising, not more attention has been paid towards it. It is this story about a woman facing off against a culture that is so eager to demonize her even though she is, in fact, the victim. Existing in a near future that is a slight exaggeration of the world we currently live. Where video taping someone without their knowledge is even easier than it is now. So much so her boss recording them having sex without her knowledge. As is often the case that tape leaked out and now they are both dealing with the consequences.

So far it has taken that concept and given a perspective that is vital to understand. Great intentions do not always lead to great results. This was the first issue of the series that majorly stumbled, but part of that fall has been bubbling for some time now. It opens with a strong promise. Jad Davies appears to be ready to reveal the truth of what happened despite the damage it will do to him.

Where things actually end up are rather unexpected and go against much of what it was building towards. There are obvious major hints there are pieces of this story that have yet to be revealed. The sudden change in attitude can be explained in further issues and most likely will be. However, shifting everything so much undercuts the impact and makes you question the reasoning rather than empathizes for the personal damage it does.

Since everything unfolded there has been this hint that there is something secret pulling all these strings. Shadowy figures have lurked in the background of Nash Huang’s life for some time. Much is still unknown but I cannot help but wonder if that part of the story is doing more harm than good. There is such an important and poignant message to take from this comic without that piece. To take it to another extreme it would be like doing a story about the abuse of the police and hinting there is a secret Illuminati force behind it all. Your social commentary gets lost inside this supposed conspiracy.

On the positive artist Jorge Corona’s pencils and Jen Hickman’s colors have remained a huge positive of this series. Corona’s cartooning works even when some of the narrative choices don’t. The contrasting depictions of Jad Davies’s speeches give so much character to those moments. It opens with a phenomenal page of him sitting at his desk with the television stage looming over him like this immovable weight. Davies’s emotional toll is showing in his tired unshaved face and beaten posture, yet he is positioned in such a way that his pain looks insignificant in the darkened fame surrounding him. Visually the storytelling has been and continues to be a highlight. The overall script and narrative choices are the problems.

To be fair many of this complaints could be resolved with further issues. One of the inherent problems of reviewing weekly comics is that something that at first seems problematic works at for the best by the end. Comics are designed to be consumed on an issue by issue basis, but at times you do have those series that work so much better in the trade format. The best writers are able to find a middle ground. Jacob Semahn and Jorge Corona are not quite there yet. They both have shown major promise with this book that makes me believe one day they could be, and it is that fact that makes me continue reading this series.

**½  2.5/5

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