"No. 1 with a Bullet #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jacob Semahn
Illustrated by Jorge Corona
Colored by Jen Hickman
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 1st, 2017
Nash Huang has a life that most Millennials would kill for. She's an assistant for TV host Jad Davies with frequent appearances on his show. She's got a loving girlfriend, lots of fun outings, and more followers than you could shake a stick at. All of this is about to fall apart as horrors begin to lurk around her as her real life and virtual life begin to converge. Prepare to throw your phone out the window and go off the grid because No. 1 with a Bullet will have you questioning your social media habits.
No. 1 with a Bullet starts off with a shock as Nash plays with a new set of contact lenses infused with augmented reality. She sees her boss' corpse in front of her and blood on her hands as the audience laughs maniacally. The crowd looks like adult versions of those little creatures from The Maxx with no facial features aside from twisted, inhuman grins.
Artist Jorge Corona creates a feeling of unease with the opening pages. There are no right angles and bodies move unnaturally. This is like vertigo in comic book form. Jen Hickman's colors, especially with the blood, complete the experience, making for a disturbing introduction.
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Corona's art direction in No. 1 with a Bullet is incredible. No two pages are alike. Each panel pulls you in, guiding you through the story with precision. He is in complete control of the pacing from beginning to end. The panel layout varies with the intensity of the story. Calm moments are evenly structured in rectangles while the more erratic sequences are more scattered in a variety of shapes.
A large chunk of this first issue is spent introducing you to Nash and her world. She flows through life with ease and confidence, unaware of the terror that's about to come her way. Her phone is a constant companion as she uses it to chronicle her every activity, big and small, each with a witty phrase or cute selfie. Writer Jacob Semahn settles us into this seemingly normal day, but there's an undeniable feeling of dread flowing through each page. You know something bad is coming.
This arrives in the form of a creepy super-fan. Nash isn't the star of the TV show she occasionally appears on. That's not her job, nor her life. Sure, she enjoys the spotlight every so often, but that's not where she wants to be full time. In a world of social media and online check-ins, anyone can become the object of someone's obsession and that's presumably the case here. This guy lurks in the shadows, following Nash around like a specter. He's in the background of a number of panels and she is completely unaware. This is just the beginning. This is the comic dipping its toe in the horror pool.
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The real unsettling quality of No 1. with a Bullet is how plausible it is. The events in the book are not that far off from reality. The contact lenses seen are actually almost real. Semahn details a patent Sony filed for this very product in the back matter of the book. We voluntarily give so many details about our lives, forgoing any semblance of privacy in exchange for likes and retweets that we don't necessarily think of the consequences if this information was to fall into the hands of a maniac.
No. 1 with a Bullet presents real world terror that will chill you to the bone. It will certainly have you re-thinking the next tweet you post or online comment you make. It serves as an effective social commentary while also creeping you out, which makes for some quality horror.