Boom! Studios 2018
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Tyler Jenkins
Coloured by Hilary Jenkins
Lettered by Jim Campbell
While on a mission to locate political prisoners in Siberia, the Black Badge team meets another group of young operatives who call themselves the Mounties. With the mission on the line, will they be able to work with this other team or will the two teams turn on one another?
Gosh this is kind of why I love Matt and the work he does. I mean who as a kid didn’t want to be James Bond and have a license to kill? Heck in early teens I made own utility belt to use to climb trees or the shed in the back yard. Granted I never really had the fantasy to kill anyone that didn’t happen until I was an adult heh. Regardless the idea of these Scouts is what fascinates readers and so far the ambiguity of how they organisation really formed is one of the driving forces behind keeping up with the book. Matt smartly keeps that dangling like a carrot in front of the horse.
This issue things get kind of complicated but I think that’s to be expected. The new kid, god I am terrible with names we really need a scorecard with who’s who, is annoying and I think it shows perfectly because while the others are seasoned he’s with them on his first and now second mission and he’s nervous. When people get that nervous they talk, they ask questions and yes they never shut up. So through all this the characterisation is so amazing to me as we really do get to know as much about them through what they do as what they say or how they behave.
We are introduced a new Quartet of teenagers this issue. They are the wrinkle we’ve never knew we wanted and I love when that happens. Again Matt is just slaying it with the story here and while we heard about Jimmy this is the organisations response to him. It is okay I mean when you “lose” a member you get investigated to make sure the group is okay, mentally and physically, and assess if anyone else might follow suit. Standard stuff not that anyone likes that or those who do it and yes friction and personality clashes are inevitable. Every last damn thing in, of and about this story feels normal, for a group of Scouts who do missions instead of adults because no one questions a Scout group.
Tyler and Hilary’s work on the interiors here is pretty. There’s just something about it that just fits and I am sure that partly it’s because they are married but also the relationship between Tyler and Matt. That they have this relationship through some really good books already it’s easy to see how they both can think along the same lines. The way that these two can create individuality among each character is so delightful and it’s little things about each one that makes them them. Whether it’s those old school riding pants or hair styles or even where they wear their badges each person we see is unique and consistent and that’s so well done. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a great eye for storytelling. While I will always say more backgrounds should be utilised it doesn’t detract from the story.
This is the kind of book that’s fun, interesting and slightly troubling and yet all of it works so perfectly together. Hell if I even remotely thought this would’ve been a Scouts life for me I would have stayed longer than a year lol. But then again this is a different kind of Scouts. So just get on board and let your inner teenage self loose and regale at the whole idea of what being a kid spy could’ve been for you!