With its fourth issue, Image Comics’ No.1 With A Bullet, by Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, Jen Hickman, and Steve Wands begins to explore the more personal and psychological consequences that come with the abuse of media and power.
No. 1 With A Bullet #4
Written by: Jacob Semahn
Art by: Jorge Corona
Colors by: Jen Hickman
Lettered/Designed by: Steve Wands
Her social media, strong. Her variety show segments, a hit. Nash Huang is at the top of her game. But when the iRis Shutter contact lens hits the market, Nash’s life is personally invaded. The latest leap forward in “technological progress,” these contacts not only play video or augment reality…but also record footage. Fighting to keep her life together after a leaked sex tape with media star Jad Davis goes viral, a clingy super-fan is the last thing on Nash’s mind…but that’s exactly when the bodies pile up and the terror begins.
And now, with tensions mounting and the media drawn into a frenzy, Jad addresses allegations head-on. Meanwhile, Nash inches closer to the void as stress-related hallucinations creep ever closer.
No. 1 With A Bullet, for all its suspense, escalating body count, and growing mystery is at its heart a very timely story dealing with power and abuse in a social media-saturated world. This fourth issue tones down the more ‘genre’ aspects to focus on the consequences that come from a blatant abuse of power by a powerful and rich white male. Jacob Semahan does a great job of addressing these issues. The opening monologue ‘apology’ by Jad Davis rings (unfortunately) very true. When one of Davis’ producers says “Is that an apology? Because if so you are missing two important key words”, it brings to mind the way too many celebrities have handled allegations of their own: with avoidance and self-entitled bluster, furthering proving the claims against them.
We also witness how Jad’s wife and daughter are impacted by what is happening, in a scene that reveals Jad is as much a piece of shit to his family as he is to everyone else in his orbit.
One of the best sequences is a scene of Nash falling prey to stress-induced hallucinations. It’s a well-written scene that hints at her past, adds suspense and further develops her character.
Semahn, however, doesn’t leave out the suspense completely as at the end we get another great cliffhanger from him, with the added bonus of a fucking fanatic use of the lyrics to Johnny Cash’s When The Man Comes Around (for you non-audiophiles it’s the awesome song at the end of Logan).
The art team of Corona, Hickman, and Wands has really grown together with each issue, as this chapter has some of the best line work, panel layouts, page designs and colors in the series yet. There are moments the art here reminds you of the work John McCrea did in Hitman; that is a good thing.
In particular, the faces and body language really stand out stylistically, creating a unique visual identity. For a story about a near future world, the rough look of the art creates an interesting, jarring dynamic.
No.1 With A Bullet continues to be a very relevant piece of science-fiction. With an extremely important theme, message and some truly unique art, this is a comic you should be reading. Pick this issue up at your local comic shop this week.
*The end of this comic includes a few pages, moderated by Casey Gilly and Sara Sanders, that feature an interview with Woman’s Rights Activist and Attorney Alexis Liistro on surveillance and its effects on women. Make sure you read this eye-opening Q&A.