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Review – B.B. Free #1 (BOOM! Studios)

b.b. free #1 (BOOM Studios) variant cover (detail) by Brittney Williams
Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
  • Writing - 8/10
    8/10
  • Art - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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b.b. free #1

Author: Gabby Rivera
Artist: Royal Dunlap
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Maturity Rating: Unrated
Release Date: November 6th, 2019

B.b. free #1 brings readers to a world that has changed dramatically. The country has changed, but the struggles for young teens are still the same.

 

B. B. Free #1: A Charming Tale About A Girl Who Just Wants to Be Free

Alright, everybody, if you’re looking for a comic series that celebrates LGBT children and everything they can give to this world, you’ve got to check out b. b. free #1. Enter b.b.: she’s just a fifteen-year-old girl who desperately wants to be free—free to be who and what she is, without any shame. Or without being told to “be a good girl”. All b.b. really wants to do is be able to travel the country—as broken as it is—and broadcast her free radio station, one that is as cheerful and free as she someday wants to be. But there are forces in her life that refuse to ever let that happen.

This series takes all of society’s expectations of young ladies and brings that discussion to the forefront. All the pressure it brings with it, and how dehumanizing it can feel when repeatedly told to be something you feel like you’re not.

Writing

b.b. free #1 (BOOM Studios) cover A by Royal Dunlap
b.b. free #1 (BOOM! Studios) cover A by Royal Dunlap

Written by Gabby Rivera, b.b. free #1 introduces us to a fascinating new world. It’s a world in which the country has fallen, risen back up, and altered. This is the world that young b.b. was born and raised in.

This series directly confronts all of the oppressive expectations thrown onto younger generations by their parents and elders. Constantly being told to “be good girls” makes us question what that really means—and what the cost is. It’s a hurtful phrase to many, as b.b. herself addresses.

This series may only be one issue in, but it’s already proving to be a powerful and moving one. Here’s hoping that it helps to free somebody else along the way. After all, that’s all b.b. wants out of her life. That, and her radio station.

Art

The artwork behind b.b. free #1 is vibrant and full of life. Being a series that celebrates LGBT youth, it is, unsurprisingly, full of a rainbow of colors. And it is delightful. The series has somehow made a swampy biome look colorful and bright. It’s an interesting and unique take, but one that fits the series nicely.

Even in these few pages, b.b.’s character is clear. She’s full of life and passion, and yet she’s also at that awkward stage as a teenager. This awkwardness is exacerbated whenever she’s forced to wear clothing her father picks out. The fact that it’s shown and not said adds to the impact tenfold.

Royal Dunlap was responsible for most of the artwork in this issue, and it shows. You can tell that one artist’s vision has come to life here, and it gave the series a distinctive look. However, Jim Campbell stepped up to provide the lettering, and their work helped enhance the story being told.

Conclusion

B.b. free #1 was a great start to a new series. It was emotional and intelligent, and it wasn’t afraid to allow subtlety to tell certain elements of the story. And let’s not forget the conclusion of this issue, which will leave readers anxious to get their hands on the second issue.

There was something so uplifting and liberating about b.b.’s story, even though it has only just begun. Perhaps that is because, while it is a dystopian world (sort of), there is something here that many readers can relate to. And it’s just so beautifully human.


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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