Comic Review – Kim & Kim #1 (Black Mask Studios)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I’m reviewing the first issue of the new Black Mask Studios series Kim & Kim, written by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Eva Cabrera, with colours by Claudia Aguirre and letters from Zakk Saam.

Cover art by Tess Fowler & Kiki Jenkins

Cover art by Tess Fowler & Kiki Jenkins

Kim D & Kim Q are a pair of down on their luck galactic and interdimensional bounty hunters, struggling to get a decent job after their most recent payday fell through. Their target was ‘vacated’ and the bounty rescinded, with the Marshal refusing to even pay their expenses. Some old friends try to lend a hand in the form of teaming up on an exclusive bounty contract, but after she left The Catalans, their organisation run by her father Furious, Kim Q still harbours some resentment towards them. Instead, the girls decide to chase the bounty themselves, heading to the planet Clovis to find the mark, who has been quietly murdering people across the dimensions. With no leads, no real information on the target and The Catalans looking for him too, Kim and Kim may be in over their heads.

There is a definite punk and Riot Grrrl feel to Kim & Kim, both in the characters and plot, and in the book’s aesthetics. Kim Q even uses a bass guitar as a weapon, which is fairly punk rock (seemingly a common choice with a lot of my favourite characters,  looking at you Marceline the Vampire Queen). Black Mask describes the book as a “day-glo action adventure that’s bursting with energy and enthusiasm and puts queer women and trans women front and center.”, which is pretty spot on for a few reasons. Kim Q is a trans woman, and Kim D is bisexual: important facets of their characters that are put front and center in an honest and completely non-cynical manner, with both characters already having rich personalities in just one issue. Magdalene Visaggio deftly creates a warm and believable friendship between the girls that is big part of what makes this book work well and why they feel so fully fleshed out so quickly. Also it is basically a punk rock LGBTQ Cowboy Bebop or Firefly and I really can’t think of a better selling point than that.

Art by Eva Cabrera, & Claudia Aguirre, letters from Zakk Saam

Art by Eva Cabrera, & Claudia Aguirre, letters from Zakk Saam

The art from Cabrera and Aguirre is bright, beautiful and fun. There is an obvious Tank Girl vibe, but also an Adventure Time/Bravest Warriors aesthetic to the art too. The excellent character design of Kim and Kim put them at the center of attention in every scene, while the action feels fast paced but never too busy and the quieter moments of reflection are softer and focused on conveying well the emotion of the scene through body language and facial work. The colours finish off the art strongly with a bright palette in the city scapes at the start of the issue, a warmer glow sunset glow to the scenes on Clovis, and the “day-glo” colours reserved for Kim and Kim themselves.

Kim & Kim is a lot of fun, full of heart and an interesting plot with great art, and is a strong LGBTQ-positive book which is something fiction always needs more of. And as I said: punk rock LGBTQ Cowboy Bebop. Why haven’t you bought it yet? Pick it up at your LCS or digitally now.

Score: 8.5 Tentacles out of 10


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