Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.
Last week I was sent an advance copy of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #1 from Black Mask Studios. written by Matthew Rosenberg, with art by Tyler Boss and letters from Thomas Mauer. This is the first issue of a new mini-series coming out next week on April 27th, “A coming of age crime caper comic book in 5 parts’. Here’s a nifty trailer from Black Mask about the book…
In this first issue of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, we’re introduced to the main cast through their Dungeons & Dragons characters (due to my recent predilections for that game this got my attention very quickly). Paige, Berger, Walter and Stretch are a group of 11 and 12 year old kids, generally arguing, spilling drinks and falling out. When the gang are heading out for ice cream, courtesy of Paige’s dad, a group of thugs turn up at the house. They throw their weight around, make threats and leave. But they start hanging around the kids at school. And it turns out there is a family connection that no one was expecting.
4 Kids… is a really fun, witty and fast paced book. The dialogue from the strong-minded kids is snappy and full of a believable bravado that would make children stand up to genuinely terrifying threats. Threats that don’t have any qualms about hitting kids, or worse. And the book is very funny too. There are a few instances of repeated panels focusing on back and forth dialogue, over the radio and in the car for example, that are excellent examples of well timed comedy. The only drawback of this first issue for me is that it doesn’t seem to actually quite reach the main plot and the titular …Walk into a Bank part, that is the bank heist element to the plot. This is eschewed for set up and character development, which are done very well as a result, but it could have used a more direct connection to the events to come rather than ending on a visual reveal. But that really is a small complaint for an otherwise strong first issue.
The art from Boss is evocative and expressive, with a retro 80’s feeling complemented with a washed out colour palette, that reminded me overall of comics like Hip Hop Family Tree. There were some really impressive double page spreads too, in particular the hallway scene that showed the two groups facing each other down. The previously mentioned repeating panels showing only slight changes in facial expressions as the characters react to each other were really enjoyable to read.
4 Kids Walk Into a Bank is a really interesting first issue, and this mini series is shaping up to be a lot of fun with a dangerous, yet genuinely funny and charming core. It comes out next week, so head down to your local comic shop or check it online on April 27th.
Score: 8.5 Paper Bags of Beef Stroganoff out of 10