Bounty: Volume 1 (Image Comics)
STORY : Kurtis Wiebe
ART : Mindy Lee (art) & Leonardo Olea (colours)
Good, clean(ish) fun. This book is utterly and totally hilarious and yet it’s not a comedy book.
It really is remarkable when I can read a comic nowadays and be THIS entertained given how many there are and how serious they all tend to be a lot of the time – either serious or just plain comedic. Enter Kurtis Wiebe. The man knows how to write a bloody good comic and this latest entry into his body of work is just as solid as his previous entries.
The basic series starts off with the two main heroines, a pair of sisters who are intergalactic badasses and well, Robin-Hood-ish crooks I guess, called The Gadflies. They’ve been caught, manage to get away and in the process, erase their very identities from existence and go into hiding.
Except they’re not really hiding.
Nina is unquestionably the lead/starring sister – mainly because she’s (a) more present and more active and (b) because her characters development and presence is far stronger, whether this just happened or is by design, I don’t care really because she is a REALLY strong, smartass and ass-kicking new character that I’ve enjoyed reading. She is now the face of their crew as a bounty-hunters – who kind of dress up like superheroes and have fans and ratings and such… it’s weirdly hilarious. Younger sister Georgie is clearly the smarter, sharper and more savvy of the duo and helps keep her more volatile sister in line.
I can’t go into the plot and such more without giving away too much because being a 5-issue miniseries/1st volume, it’s quite short and tight. But the basics are that they’ve been living incognito and hand-to-mouth in their new non-criminal enterprise – except that things are about to go not-their-way and problems, shenanigans and much punching, kicking and exploding ensues – things from their past come back to bite them in the rear and an emoji-faced fellow bounty-hunter is also after them.
Oh and there’s a very fun lineup of supporting character like Doctor Roboto, Viv and Tesla the cat – all of which add to the vibe that this book gives of the ensemble cast. This is something that really, really works in the favour of the series and with some of his much better previous works, is very much what Wiebe does well: build an interesting cast of characters who each have not just distinct voices but are all unique in their own way, big and small. The comic was compared by many to his most popular work Rat Queens (which I recommend to EVERYONE!) and has very acurately been summarised as a mashup between the Queens and the late-lamented Firefly and its quirky, quip-filled-yet-not-childish space-cowboy feel and I for one enjoyed the hell out of it as this series seems to embody a lot of the best elements of both other properties while standing on its own legs. A HUGE part of that is because despite being such a short comic with a lot happening, as in his other works, he is very good at building a world, though it’s understandably less distinct here given the tight space to tell the story.
The fantastic artwork by Mindy Lee does wonders for the series. Its not overly cartoonish, yet speaks to the cartoons and comics of childhood by not going for “realism” as many comics do now – plus the glowing neon colours and funky look that Leonardo Olea throws across the series adds a funky-futuristic and gives me flashes of the Neuromancer / Mona Lisa Overdrive vibe especially in the cyber-scenes.
THE LAST WORD:
I very much hope this is not the last we see of the series and that Wiebe is able to give us maybe another mini somewhere down the line – mostly because there is a world here and characters that I think would really be fun to explore more, things that couldn’t be fleshed out in the limited space we have unlike his other titles. BUT that said, this series has a rare positive compared to many, the ending is near perfectly open in that if you came back, great, but if he decided to write no more, it’s a good closing for a fun series and I don’t feel cheated and left on any cliff-hanger as such.
A good, fun ride that I recommend highly and if you like comics like Rat Queens, then you definitely should be checking this out.
STORY SCORE: 7 / 10
ART SCORE: 8 / 10
OVERALL SCORE: 7.5 / 10