Please note this is an advance review of a comic which will be available to buy next week, 27th April 2016.
Written by: Matthew Rosenberg
Art by: Tyler Boss
Publisher: Black Mask Comics
You know what’s hard to get right in comics? Humor. Things like comedic timing are so much harder to pull off and most modern ones tend to focus on “lol so random” humor rather than be creative and witty. Know what else is hard to get right in comics? Kids. A lot of the time they end up looking like adult heads on tiny bodies or are just presented super obnoxiously because, let’s be real, kids are super obnoxious. That’s why when I tell you that 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #1 is not only absolutely hilarious, but features a super likable main cast of kids you should definitely be interested.
4KWIAB in its first issue feels a little bit like a more mature Home Alone, a group of misfit kids have their house invaded by a group of thugs (real nasty people, not your typical comic book goombas), after defending themselves however, the kids decide to investigate and witness a shocking discovery…
As stated, it’s the comedy that absolutely sells this book. I liked the central concept that was pitched to me of four kids becoming bank robbers, something that will likely unfold over the series, but the actual charm from the issue came from its grounded style. The kids are absolutely hilarious because they have such realistic voices, you’ll likely be able to point to each one and remember a friend you had just like them. They also manage to feel like really likeable characters and don’t fit the tropes of “the fat one”, “the nerd”, “the cool kid” and so on. There was even a moment with the main kid Paige that had a surprising bit of weight and seriousness to it that caught me off guard. The issue knows when to play up laughs but also that characters needs to be well rounded in order to make them funny. The character development will certainly be what I look forward to most over the next few issues.
The art style by Tyler Boss also suits perfectly and is wonderfully inventive, keeping me on my toes throughout. The style not only switches from a fantasy setting early on (in a very humorous opening) but features several cool transitions and little artistic flairs that really bring the story to life and use the medium to its strength. The characters too look great, each having their own distinct character and personalities that can tell you everything you need to know just by looking at them. Boss’ style is perfect for the nature of comedy on display, featuring a great number of visual gags while remaining nicely subtle and not disrupting the flow of the story. This is a highly crucial element, since the comedy flows naturally, focusing on telling a good yet funny story rather than throwing jokes at you until you laugh. It works beautifully, and for the first time in as long as I remember I was laughing uncontrollably.
Overall, 4KWIAB was a real surprise. It’s laugh out loud funny, with some sweet nostalgic moments and some surprisingly nice character depth. The first issue sets a nice stage for the rest of the series to blow me away, so while we do still seem to be in set up stage, there’s plenty to love in the first issue to make it worth a purchase.