Projected Billboards, Robot Body Parts, Bright Lights, and Gum
By David Nieves
So far Aspen Comics 10 for 10 initiative has been fun for readers but hasn’t really explored new territory for the publisher. This month’s addition of BubbleGun changes all that by exploring a new genre; the imaginative world of cyberpunk. As with every book so far in Aspen’s ten-year anniversary promotion, this first issue lands on shelves for first issue price of just a dollar. Combine the price with eye-popping visuals and a quirky story; then you’ve got the makings of a book that has a shot at keeping you coming back for more.
Writer Mark Roslan and artist Mike Bowden take readers into the 22nd century. Technology is the hot button and cyber thieves are in high demand. This story has a coming of age feel, which revolves around its lead character; a young girl named Molli. She’s green, but spunky, looking to fit in with her sister Devyn and their gang. In the opening shot of BubbleGun we’re dropped in a heist that has the tension of Heat with the light heart of a Hudson Hawk. The combination of quick sci-fi action and lighthearted humor creates a harmonic tone for the book that I hope continues throughout this series. Readers are put on a path that organically feels like a heist movie. The family angle is played with, in a manner that feels natural. Amidst the noise of this criminal-activity laced tech world; there’s the makings of a heart felt story of family.
Artist Mike Bowden has a Madureira like feel to the book’s illustration with hard lines and expressive posing. There’s a bit too much emphasis on flashy costume design though, it takes away from expressions of the characters that need to be a bit more subtle. Perhaps the greatest strength of the art is the fluidity of the figures, particularly in the action sequences that just feel like they leap off the page. Which is a perfect style for a cross between Anime and Cyberpunk. Judging from what we see in the first issue Bowden has lots of potential and will grow with each page of the story he draws.
The books biggest problem is the obvious influences it sports. While being influenced by films and books like Hackers or Count Zero isn’t a bad thing. Here it makes the story feel a little by the numbers. With all the untapped potential in this book; I hope to see Roslan and Bowden carve out their own niche for the genre as the story progresses.
Overall Bubble Gun, while not without a few flaws, is a fun read that doesn’t take anything away from the magical and mystical worlds Aspen Comics is known for. Even at a regular price point for its second issue, there is enough goodness in this book to get me to comeback next month for issue two.
8.5 out of 10
David Nieves spends too much time on twitter.