Hang on, what’s this? Another superhero comic, one that’s starring a teenager? Get out of town! Before you run for the hills though, please stick around at least long enough to read the score for this book, and if you have even more time, backtrack a bit and read the review itself, because That Bulletproof Kid – Issue 1 may just surprise you…
The commonness of superhero comics is something that writer Matt Kyme is also well aware of, so why bother bringing another one into an already over-crowded market? For the pure love of the genre, and it is that love that shines through and makes That Bulletproof Kid – Issue 1 such an enchanting read.
Set in and ordinary city (albeit one in which the presence of superheroes and nefarious villains is an accepted reality), the book follows teenager Anthony Fischer’s first day back at high school to begin Year 11. Apparently Anthony has been somewhat antisocial over the holidays, missing his friend Howie’s party and not replying to any of the phone calls or text messages sent to him by his friend Bri or any of his other mates. Anth has a reason for being so unavailable, but when that reason is because he is in fact a superhero (well, a sidekick, at least), it’s kind of hard to come up with excuses.
After a typical day of school, hanging out with friends and dodging overweight bullies, Anth’s drum teacher reminds him that he is late for his drum lessons. Sounds normal enough, but replace the words “drum teacher” with “superhero mentor” and “drum lessons” with “top secret superhero mission”, and the story gets a whole lot more dramatic. Particularly when the other sidekick in training, Wormhole, is apparently blown-up in an attack from an evil super villain. Oh, the suspense…
Kyme’s storytelling skills are half of the reason why my reading experience was so entertaining. Sure, there was the occasional grammatical error where the first word in a sentence didn’t have a capital letter (which I can forgive because I was reading a digital preview copy), but overall the words kept me glued to the page. Good writers know that the key to getting people hooked is to leave certain important plot points shrouded in mystery, setting up the stage just enough to give the reader a tasty sample that leaves them hungry for more. Kyme nails this: How did Bulletproof get his super powers? What is the deal with the fight between the two super powered alien beings that occurred thirty years ago? Did Wormhole really bite the dust? All of these are questions that I must learn the answer to. Curse you Matt Kyme!
As if being spoiled with a highly captivating storyline wasn’t enough, the artwork in That Bulletproof Kid – Issue 1 by Arthur Strickland packs one heck of a mean punch. Initially I was somewhat taken aback by the visual style of the first few pages, but in a good way. Before long, I realized that the art style goes through a few subtle changes, particularly with regards to color. The scenes following Anthony’s “normal life” are all brightly colored with vivid, flat tones of solid color, with the shading also being a flat solid tone. Contrasted against this are the superhero sequences that feature cooler-temperature color palettes and much more tonal variation with the shadows and scenery. A one-page splash of Bulletproof’s previous exploits is also juxtaposed against the rest of the comic, featuring bolder outlines and paintbrush style tonal work, as opposed to the more “digital” feel of the majority of the book. Brilliant stuff.
At the end of the day, if you’re tired of superhero stories or simply just aren’t a fan of the genre (you lunatic), That Bulletproof Kid probably isn’t really going to do anything for you. However, if you love reading about the plight of the teenage superhero a la Spider-Man (like I am), I strongly urge you to check out a copy of this book (you can get it at this link), as That Bulletproof Kid – Issue 1 proves that indie creators can put out some damn fine costumed crime-fighting yarns. ‘Nuff said.
ComicsOnline gives That Bulletproof Kid Issue – 1 4 out of 5 overweight emo bullies getting served.