December 20, 2016

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Review: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3


4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3
Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art and Design by Tyler Boss
Color Flatting from Claire Dezutti
Wallpaper Design by Courtney Menard
Lettered by Thomas Mauer
Published by Black Mask Studios

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank is returning this week and I couldn't be happier. I was a huge fan of issue 1 (and issue 2) and I'm happy to say that issue 3 picks up right where the story left off.  This is the 80's set comic about nascent preteen criminals that you need in your life.


What you need to know to catch up is that the story concerns 4 kids (not surprisingly). One of those kids is a girl named Paige, and it appears that her dad is mixed up with some terrible guys who are planning on robbing a bank. The kids are convinced that these guys are idiots and they'll screw it up (and Paige's dad will end up in jail) and so they decide the only reasonable thing to do is to, of course, rob the bank themselves first.  

Like issue 1, issue 3 of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank opens with a dramatic action sequence. In this case, it's a chase sequence as seen above, and it's a great opportunity for artist Tyler Boss to display his artistic chops in a dynamic action setting. Similarly to issue 1, something happens which makes you realize that what we're actually seeing is the kids' imagination dramatically brought to life. I love these sequences not only because they're an exciting, entertaining way to begin a comic, but also because they illuminate the fact that for kids, the line between fantasy/play and reality is thinner than it is for grownups. They also represent a great contrast to the far more mundane reality of the kids' lives.  I think Rosenberg and Boss really appreciate this and illustrate it effectively.


The story continues as the kids prepare to rob the bank and Paige does some hilarious reconnaissance, and all the while the kids deal with the fact that they're 12 year olds and in addition to being budding bank robbers, they're also middle school students and are dealing with bullying and other everyday problems.  While the story is absurd, it's also emotionally affecting - kid bank robbers may not be real, but the emotions that are portrayed (resentment, insecurities - lots of insecurities) all of that comes across in an emotionally honest way.

All the while, this continues to be a great-looking book. There's great wallpaper in the first few pages (from Courtney Menard) that gives the book a weird, Wes Anderson-vibe, and Boss' illustration really brings the story to life.  The art is just absurd enough to portray the crazy story, but it also doesn't veer far out of the realm of reality, and Boss' facial acting and character depictions are spot-on. Again his art reminds me of a slightly wackier David Aja (about as high praise as I can give) in the highly "analog" feel, and minimalist but on-point facial acting. There's also a nice variety of panel layouts from page to page, which work effectively to sometimes speed up the action, or get you to focus on the details of a hilarious and ridiculous conversation.   

Coupled with Rosenberg's terrific dialogue and narration (and some hilarious captions lettered by Thomas Mauer), 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #3 is a funny, moving comic that should appeal to potential bank robbers everywhere. I recommend picking it up.