Guest Writer: Brent Griffis
This article was possible due to the gift of a review copy, QWERTY, and rolling natural 20s.
Right from the outset, the first issue of “Bonehead” grabs the reader’s attention. The clever use of monochromatic backgrounds in most panels makes each character jump off the page. The bright, almost neon, color palate is a fun touch as well. Every page is alive with dynamic action, even background figures seem to be in constant motion. Against this backdrop, we are introduced to the world of Boneheads – a loose term for renegade thrill-seekers who use cybernetic helmets to enhance their physical abilities.
Our main protagonist, a troublemaker called 56, speaks almost exclusively in pictograms. This additional layer of anonymity is necessary to make 56 a character of mystery even in a city where everyone wears full face masks seemingly at all times.
As the story opens, 56 is working with a visored scientist-type called Aleph. Unlike 56, Aleph almost talks too much. Immediately upon completing his test-run, 56 runs afoul of a Gladiator — a member of the city’s high-tech police force – who does not take kindly to 56 running amok and damaging a hive of delivery drones.
The next character we meet is a loudmouth Bonehead called Pumpkin Juice. Once again, his garish orange-and-black costume (with matching weaponry, naturally) makes this eccentric chap pop off the page as he finds himself on the losing side of a battle with a crew of black-clad gang members. After helping Pumpkin Juice defeat his assailants, 56 returns to Aleph’s lab (dig that crazy clover motif!) where he speaks his only line: “BLACK DEATH”, a cryptic reference to a legendary Bonehead, about whom the reader knows absolutely nothing.
The dialogue in this issue has some room for improvement; Aleph’s hyper-enthusiastic exposition in particular is a bit clunky. However, the writer does us the favor of leaving out any distracting narration which might otherwise be present in a comic with a mute central character. The art is very good. It’s slick, fresh, and fits the feel of the not-too-distant-future story.
Overall, this is a fantastic introductory issue. It’s fully engaging, without being too complicated. It definitely leaves the reader with questions that feel certain to have exciting answers. I personally look forward to seeing where we go from here.