Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: Kim and Kim #1

By Reboot

Black Mask Studios has been reinvigorating their line and putting out new creator-owned titles from diverse talent. One of those titles is Kim & Kim by writer Mags Visaggio and artist Eva Cabrera. I got the chance to read a copy of the first issue before it hits the shelves and here are my thoughts.

Kim & Kim is the story of two interstellar bounty hunters, Kimiko Quatro (Kim) and Kimber Dantzler (Kim), just trying to get by. Although Kim Q. has a father with quite a lot of pull, she resents having to use him and would rather suffer through poverty together with her partner in crime, Kim D., much to Kim D.'s displeasure. They do have the skills and some of the equipment necessary to bag the big bounties, but a few bucks would go a long way for them.

Mags has previous comic writing experience under her belt including the successfully Kickstartered Andrew Jackson in Space. Kim & Kim is her largest undertaking yet in mainstream comics. This may also be her most thoroughly thought out space opera world as well. Filled with familiar elements and sprinkled with occasional sci-fi jargon, Dimension 64 and beyond feels both alien and inviting. And while this first issue does take time to go into some exposition for the audience, Mags still finds time to get in some witty banter with both Kim's creating a fun atmosphere while clearly defining their professional relationship in the confines of a single issue. 

All of the world building and banter is elevated by Eva Cabrera's artwork. Though some of the character work is occasionally stiff, the action sequences tend to be fluid and are easy to follow. Combined with Claudia Aguirre's colors, the team cultivates a bubble gum punk aesthetic that will make this book stand out on the shelves. It'll remind you of comics like Tank Girl. 

On a personal note, I'd like to address another reason why Kim & Kim is important. Growing up queer, I loved science fiction, but wasn't able to relate to it in the way I wanted to. I loved the fantastical worlds and technology, but the characters even in the far future or different worlds were almost always heterosexual, cis, and adhering to a strict binary. What at first was fantastical and hopeful became a depressing reminder of how the world was and seemed at the time would remain. It'd be many years before I would discover authors like Rachel Pollack who had queerness in her science fiction stories and is queer herself.

It is because of all that that we need authors like Mags Visaggio telling stories like Kim & Kim. A trans writer writing a trans character like Kim Q. Queer people more than deserve representation in media. They deserve heroes they can grow up with and relate to. Heroes that they can see themselves in. I hope Kim & Kim is the start of a big wave of more inclusive comics, and that this is the start of something great for Mags Visaggio.

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