"No. 1 With a Bullet #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jacob Semahn
Illustrated by Jorge Corona
Colored by Jen Hickman
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 14th, 2018
Nash Huang's life has spiraled out of control in recent weeks after a sex tape with her talk show host boss was made public. She didn't know she was being recorded, but that didn't matter in the court of public opinion. Someone has been pulling strings in the background, leaving cryptic messages for Nash and ultimately making her life a living Hell. At long last, we have a clear indication as to who that is and why, but is this a red herring? Is something more going on here?
The short answer to those questions is, “I don't know.” I'm enthralled with this book and am very happy to be along for the ride. This is the penultimate chapter of No. 1 with a Bullet, so things are definitely heating up. This issue is practically a non-stop thriller as pieces start to come together, not unlike the puzzle we recently saw Nash's boss, Jad Davies, putting together.
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Writer Jacob Semahn intersperses the scenes in the present with flashbacks to key moments in Nash's past that put things into context. Most of these come from before the series began, so we're not necessarily rehashing existing information to search for clues. With this newfound knowledge, casual conversations are put into new context.
While I'm plugged in to how this is developing, there are some leaps in the clues that I didn't entirely put together at first. This might be clearer in future readings, but as it stands, I’m not sure how some of the connections are made. This doesn't take away from the tension of the story or how it plays out. I'm swept up in this tale and I'll go wherever it takes me.
These alternating panels are handled incredibly well by colorist Jen Hickman. The story bounces back and forth between the past and the present. The scenes from earlier are shown in a blue tone, like Nash is looking back on these memories fondly. This contrasts with the reds and oranges of the present, which show how violent her life has become. Things were once so simple and now they're out of control.
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The art direction throughout the entire issue is top notch. Artist Jorge Corona controls the pacing of the issue using the number of panels on the page. When there are more, it's faster moving, bouncing from image to image like quick cuts in an action movie. Larger panels slow it down, allowing you to catch your breath before things get crazy again.
Nash's hallucinations are explained by the end of this issue and it's presented in such a gruesome and terrifying fashion. There is one panel in particular that made me cringe so much. When you get to it, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Corona drew this amazingly tense scene that by the end of the issue, I looked down and noticed my fists were clenched. It evokes such a visceral reaction.
No. 1 with a Bullet has gone from technological horror to social media thriller and back again. This is a gripping read full of real world terror. It deals with events that could very much happen in the not too distant future and that is a chilling thought. At this point, it's only a matter of time before this story plays out in real life.