Always be Prepared in Black Badge #1
The creative team behind one of my favorite recent series Grass Kings is back with a vengeance in Black Badge #1. Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins drop us in a world where the U.S. Government recruits the best of the best Boy Scouts for covert missions of great military importance. We are introduced to our team of teenagers…Willy, Cliff, Mitz, and Kenny. All very accomplished Scouts and all with their own unique specialties that they bring to the table. Do these kids really know what they are getting into and what are the repercussions of sending a child to war?
Matt Kindt is at it again with Black Badge #1. This was another series I knew nothing about before reading it. Just the title that is it, I honestly did not even know who the creative team was until opening it up. Which to my surprise and utter joy was the same team behind Grass Kings! Kindt did this thing with Grass Kings where it started off as one kind of story and then completely switched into something else. Part of me wonders if he will do the same thing throughout Black Badge.
The one thing that flows into Black Badge #1 that goes through all of Kindt’s work is great character work. Each character gets a nice introduction in Black Badge #1. We also start to get in their heads a little bit which is something that Kindt excels at and I am extremely interested to get to know these characters more as the series goes on.
I like the idea behind Black Badge #1. Elite Boy Scouts on dangerous military missions lend itself to all kinds of different storytelling prospects. Kindt does a good job for the first issue. Setting up the characters, story, and the narrative going forward.
Tyler Jenkins brings his imaginative style to the pages of Black Badge #1. It feels like his inking may be a little tighter in this series than Grass Kings. The edges are not as wavy or rough and the characters seem to have a little bit more detail to them. He still brings that unique style and “flavor” to the series. His characters have just a little “off” look. They are very realistic but their proportions have that little “off” cartoony feel to them. Jenkins puts in a lot of detail in the characters clothing in Black Badge #1 and it helps tremendously in setting up their “identity”.
Hilary Jenkins also resumes coloring in Black Badge #1. She once again brings a beautiful water coloring type style to this world much like Grass Kings. Hilary does not use that style exclusively throughout this series. Most scenes have a little tighter coloring work. It is more in the line work and helps catch all that detail in the characters.
I do kind of wish the characters and scenes were a little more “animated”. With the story being told the characters feel a little stiff or “flat”. The Jenkins have a very specific style and it does grow on you after a while. It feels a little off for this story right now but I am hoping it grows into the series after a few issues like it did for me in Grass Kings.
Black Badge #1 has piqued my interest. The concept of Scouts being used as special military agents is a novel idea and the characters introduced in this first issue seem like they have a lot going for them. I am excited to see what this creative team does with this story. It is hard to tell exactly were Black Badge is going after this first issue but it makes me want to find out!
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