‘Vivacious, But Dangerous, With Clubland Colors’: Reviewing No.1 With A Bullet #1

by Oliver MacNamee

In the fast paced world of the internet, everything is immediate, everything is now. And, once it’s out there; once it’s gone viral, there can be no putting the genie back into the bottle. Or, should that be the sprite back into the tablet? And as a theme in this hip, on-trend comic it’s one that is at the heart of the plot. A story that deals with not only the varied opinions on such viral leaks–and Jacob Semahn cites the 2014 data leak that saw many a Hollywood starlets’ very personal and revealing photographs shared without a care for their feelings as a prime example–but also the fallout when it happens to someone not necessarily in the spotlight.

And he’s right. What do we care if a famous, mega rich actor gets their naked photos splashed all over the internet, and only a click away? Well, we should. Because, if it can happen to them, it can happen to us. And, it does. To the central star of this book, Nash Haug, one of many assistants working behind the scenes on a very successful show, helmed by a very Stephen Colbert looking presenter.

But, before any of that we have the establishment of her as a character, both at work and at play, and one who has her own opinions on celebrity hacked information and the sharing of such. Opinions, one imagines, may well be tested in subsequent issues. And, in filling this comic with other friends and co-workers, Semahn has skillfully set up a scenario into which all sorts of diverse and, sometimes, unsympathetic, opinions can be voiced, and more importantly challenged, without it become something of a sermon. A naturalistic approach to a group debate like you’d have with your own mates in the pub, at the club, or even online.

In-between scenes of everyday toils, made all the harder when Haug volunteers to take on the drudging tasks of an intern (because it’s his birthday), we have scenes of melodrama that give this comic an energy and rhythm that will stoke the engine of this book and propel it forward.

The final reveal on the last page, which I don’t think readers will see coming, is a genuine cliff hanger and a big “Oh no, you didn’t!?” moment, skillfully rounds off a book that opens with a very literal splash page immediately giving it an air of drama and a feeling of shock. It’s a comic with both real world problems and over-the-top problems that come together because of the technological advancements that, arguably, mean we are all less at liberty that we truly believe.

Jorge Corona creates a very contemporary, very modern world in which such twenty-somethings frequent. It’s spot on with a hint of the futuristic about it too, with Jen Hickman’s bright, bold colours complimenting this design aesthetic with almost neon-glowing clubland colours that makes you want to be part of this young hipster’s social circle. Work hard, play hard seems to be the order of the day, but it may be in the area of playing harder that Huag will come unstuck and turn from victim blaming to becoming a victim herself. How she deals with it all will be what makes you want to pick up the next issue. Especially as she seems to be living a life even her own girlfriend is unaware of. Y’know, a private life, with private moments that you just wouldn’t want shared.

Overall then, this is a vivacious, but dangerous, bright, hip-speaking debut that took me a while to properly get into, but when I did, I was happily shocked with the final page. Shocked enough to make me want to pick up the next issue even though I ain’t no hip twenty-something anymore. However, the issues discussed whether directly or indirectly, are relevant to us all.

No.1 With A Bullet #1 is out now at $3.99 from Image Comics.