September 5, 2019

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Kim and Kim Volume 2: Love is a Battlefield by Mags Visaggio, Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre is a #1 Hit

Kim and Kim Vol 2: Love is a Battlefield
Written by Magdalene Visaggio
Line Art by Eva Cabrera
Color Art by Claudia Aguirre
Letters by Zakk Saam
Published by Black Mask

Kim and Kim are about to get a bounty that will set them up for, well, awhile anyway, when an ex-lover comes calling--and steals what they need to get their payday! The Kims aren't going to take this lying down, even if the old flame's return causes some friction between them. In the end, our heroines get to blow stuff up, fly in space, and kick the crap out of faceless (literally) minions in this extremely solid sequel to the first series.

Now that set-up can be left behind, Mags really digs into the characters here, giving us a chance to see their pasts while keeping an eye strictly on the future and keeping the romp-style pace going, page after page. We get some good breather moments, where the Kims discuss their relationship with each other, for example, but the pacing is extremely quick. It's a really great blend of introspection and action. After all, you have to make room for beating people over the head with a specialized guitar, stealing a mechanical giant, or just roughing up some punk thugs for fun and motorcycles. (One of my favorite lines is where Kim complains that Kim keeps her from violence by constantly reminding her of the potential for jail time, which Kim dismisses as if she's suggesting wearing extra sunscreen at the beach.)

This is probably the best work I've read from Visaggio, and a lot of it is because while she's still working with her favorite recurring themes, they're seamlessly integrated into the work, with a skill that takes time to master. The concepts of acceptance, failure, trust, and mistakes are a part of what make the Kims so interesting to follow as protagonists. They're very baked in, not sewed on like a patch. It's what takes a good story and makes it a great story--and that's the case here.

As with the first volume, the artists are phenomenal. A big part of why Kim and Kim works so well is because of the linework from Cabrera ensuring that Mag's comedic lines get just the right facial punchline. In the example above, you can see how ridiculously happy Kim is at doing bounty hunting work, even (perhaps especially?) when it gets messy. Meanwhile, her partner Kim is in a concealing cloak, keeping her eyes on the job at hand. Which is why when she's the one who blows their payday by getting hoodwinked, it works so well. She isn't supposed to be the one who drops the ball. A lot of that is gathered for the ready by their body language. And when push comes to shove and the two are fighting together, their joy in partnering together is visible, thanks to Cabrera.

The other thing I love so much about Kim and Kim is Claudia Aguirre's coloring. It's not quite as obvious from the page above, but she uses a lot of bright and bold colors to make the world vibrant and violent. It's such a great complement to the story that might not work elsewhere but for this series is just the right touch. (I can't imagine this in Vertigo brown/black, for example.) At times, the colors are so bold, it's like the Kims are going to jump in the reader's lap!

I've got one more volume of this series to read, and I can't wait. It's a ton of fun, with all the things that really draw me to a comic: Quick wit, strong line art and colors, and characters who you want to see having adventures for many years to come. If you haven't read Kim and Kim yet, or only grabbed volume one, make sure you pick this up. Anyone who loves fun characters (especially queer ones) is really going to have a blast here, trust me.