Writer: Jacob Sehman
Art by Jorge Corona
Colorist: Jen Hickman
Letters: Steve Wands
No. 1 with a Bullet is about Nash Huang who is killing it on social media and the variety show she works on, both behind camera as an assistant and on camera during segments. It’s set in a not too distant future where Nash’s life is personally invaded by iRis Shutter lenses. These lenses not only augment reality and play video but also records footage and lets you relive that footage. Many things can go wrong with this type of technology… a sex tape leaks and goes viral but that’s just the beginning. There’s a clingy No. 1 fan, but our protagonist Nash Huang is not thinking about that when the death counts starts to increase.
I started reading this as single issues, and reread it again as a trade. In terms of pacing, the first issue (or chapter in the trade) felt slower, but that’s simply because there was a lot to build. Once you get to the core of the plot, from the last page of the first issue and there on, the more you read the thicker the plot. What makes this story so scary is how plausible it is. We’re living in an age where hacking stories are the norm and we struggle with victim shaming. There are points in the story, and this comes from great writing, where I’m genuinely angered by what our main character Nash is going through because it’s far too relevant. This is where tone increased my interest and excitement, immediately soliciting an emotional response. The tone for this whole series is set up immediately with a prelude of someone on the verge of suicide as a number one fan of a secondary character named Vanessa Green.
I really felt challenged by this story in a way that made me think about my own online presence. Jacob Sehman wasn’t afraid to rip Nash apart, but the intricacy of his writing and what also makes this a great read, comes in building her back up which is not an easy thing to do.
The inequality that is highlighted between characters is an important point in this story. Seeing how a female gets dragged through the mud and slut-shamed is all too familiar while the male counterpart of the plot gets glorified throughout his indecency. I appreciate that Jacob Sehman really made that evident. In the beginning you want to hate Nash for being an attention seeking junkie, and you want to love Jad because he’s the really cool, down-to-earth TV host, as you continue to read that impression changes.
Jorge Corona has an unconventional style that adds so much beauty in the disorientation felt in this series. Even the paneling itself lends to the disorientation. Switching from conventional grids to sequenced panels that feel like you’re falling through the cracks of a nightmare. There are a couple flashback panels, done excellently and necessary to the story. His illustration brings out pain, confusion, and sadness across characters. The facial expressions, tears, blood, and action, is all captured very well.
There’s a creepy and unsettling quality to the entire piece. A big part of this comes from the colors where it feels like a different dimension, or an “augmented” reality. Jen Hickman highlights the mood, tone, and gloom of what’s going on. What I found super interesting was even with bright, bolder colors like orange pink and red that you see on the cover, it still feels so eerie. The colorist really added the icing to the cake.
I rate this series an 8/8 pizza slices.
If there was anything I would improve in this series, I think it would have been ONE little tiny thing. There were times where I was confused because I thought Sarah looked too much like Violet. If that was on purpose to add to the confusion… I get that, and that’s why it did not affect my review.
Searching for the Philosophers Stone,