"No. 1 with a Bullet #3" 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 January 3rd, 2018
It was bad enough when a sex tape with her boss hit the Internet. It was worse because Nash didn't know it existed. Now a stalker is leaving messages scrawled on her walls in blood. Nash desperately wants the news cycle to refresh so she can begin putting her life back together, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.
No. 1 with a Bullet #3 has a few key plot threads. There's the fallout with the stalker, which is creepy enough on its own. Writer Jacob Semahn could have ran with that for the rest of the series and crafted a captivating narrative. Instead, we just kind of confirm the existence and set the stage for Nash to be even more uncomfortable for the rest of the issue. It also raises a bit of paranoia, as I'm now scouring every panel looking for mysterious figures in the background.
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After this, we pick up with the continued coverage of the sex tape, this time looking at how the public perceives her boss, Jad Davies. This serves as a nice contrast to the last issue where the media – both mainstream and social – is tearing Nash apart and calling her horrible names. Here, they're praising the guy and calling him a stud. As a reminder, this is a manager who filmed a sexual encounter with his assistant without her knowledge. Sure, he didn't post it online, but it's not a great thing to do in the first place. This coverage is far too similar to what has been seen in the real world, which makes it all the more chilling and unsettling.
Artist Jorge Corona presents these public opinions as an onslaught of panels scattered across the page while colorist Jen Hickman gives them an almost neon-look. It's as if these are signs advertising seedy businesses as you walk through the wrong part of town.
There's a scene with Davies as he struggles with what to do next. This is shown in a nine-panel grid with each panel focused on a specific detail of the location. It could have been done in just a couple images, as Davies isn't moving around. He's just standing in his office talking on the phone. This additional attention to detail adds weight to the scene. You feel that he's stuck in this office and can't get out, but he also deserves this isolation. This is expert level art direction.
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The final portion of the book has Nash visiting the Museum of Death with a friend. She has a vision of sorts that takes her through the life of a murdered Hollywood starlet. I wonder if this has to do with the advanced contact lens in the first issue. In any case, it's a disturbing scene, as Nash faces the horrifying possibilities that women face in the industry. I'm not sure how this fits into the overall story just yet, but it is definitely welcome. Corona already set a creepy tone with the book and then takes it up to eleven with this scene.
No. 1 with a Bullet should be required reading for anyone interested in the entertainment industry today. It also pairs nicely with Glitterbomb, another Hollywood horror comic, although the two scratch slightly different itches. This is an exquisitely crafted comic that will not only creep you out, but also deliver a message. It will challenge how you look at click bait headlines and gossipy news coverage. In other words, it could not be more relevant.