Writing - 7/10
Art - 7/10
Overall - 7/10
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins
Colorist: Hilary Jenkins
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Maturity Rating: Teen +
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release: September 19, 2018
In the Russian wilderness, the Black Badge Scouts are on another covert mission only children could get away with in Black Badge #2
The Mounties Arrive in Black Badge #2
In Black Badge #1 we were introduced to an elite group of Scouts. These are not your normal boy scouts, however; they go on secret government missions that only kids could get away with. Willy is the new guy and good with tech, Cliff is good at hand to hand combat, Mitz is good with a bow and a master of disguise, and Kenny is the rough and tough leader of the group. While they successfully pulled off a job in North Korea, Willy is still struggling with what the “Black Badge” is, and what happened to the kid he is replacing? There are more questions than answers as the kids head to Russia in Black Badge #2. Things are going as planned until Canada’s best and brightest, The Young Canadian Mounties, show up!
So, Black Badge is a strange book and I haven’t quite figured out what to make of it. I like the general concept of “Scouts” used as elite military agents. It is a cool idea and having each kid have a specialty gives the book a classic team dynamic feel. You got your tech guy, the leader, the fighter, etc… these are always fun to visualize and see them play out in a story. Kindt writes good characters as well, he can delve deep into them and pull out some fascinating stuff as seen from his work on Grass Kings and The Ether.
The story still perplexes me even after reading Black Badge #2. We don’t get really any answers as to how these kids got here and what the story’s all about. Take the new guy, Willy, who a few days ago was just a regular Scout and thought the Black Badge was the ultimate merit badge. He was thrown in this group and he’s just kind of going along with it. He asks questions but you’d think he would be freaking out a little more when they bombed a place in North Korea. It is kind of weird that he’s very excepting of all this.
Matt Kindt did turn Grass Kings into an amazing story after six issues that completely flipped the story around, so I am still on board. Hopefully, in the next few issues, we start to get some more answers and the story picks up after Black Badge #2.
I have a love/hate relationship with Tyler Jenkins’ art style. I like the wispy ink lines; they are very thin and wavy, giving almost a sketch-like feeling to the series. He is also good at creating eye-catching little details in characters, from the way their faces look to how their bodies move. I do feel like we lose some details, though. Unless the panel is a close-up of a character’s face the expressions feel off or look weird at times. The panel structure in Black Badge #2 leaves a little to be desired; it does not really build up tension or anything as the story progresses. There are also some background shots of trees that just don’t work.
I generally like Hilary Jenkins’ coloring. Her watercolor style always has a stunning, almost whimsical quality to it. Jenkins’ colors are immediately recognizable. The snow-covered landscape looks beautiful and the use of heavy yellows in the flashback scene is great. Some things do get lost with that style, though; it creates some problems in more detailed shots, like when a character is holding certain items. It can be hard to tell what those areas are when the coloring style is a little more splotchy. For example, there’s a scene on a rooftop where the kids’ pants match the color of the roof and it looks like they have no feet or legs.
Black Badge #2 leads us on another secretive mission with the elite group of Scouts. This time they are in the Russian wilderness, and they are not alone! In my opinion, after this second issue, Black Badge is hanging on just by the concept and how much I liked the creative team’s previous series, Grass Kings. The art seems to have a few more hiccups than I normally see from this team, and if the story does not pick up I can’t really see myself staying on much longer.
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