Kim & Kim #1
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Eva Cabrera
Colorist: Claudia Aguirre
Letterer: Zakk Saam
Covers: Tess Fowler w/ Kiki Jenkins, Devaki Neogi
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
Refreshingly outlandish and definitely “queer as shit”, Kim & Kim is a punk-rock sci-fi comic about two best friends who’ve ditched their past lives to become interdimensional bounty hunters. Think space western, with spunk and lots of it. This energetic and fun action adventure has a varied LGBTQ cast, placing trans and queer women at the forefront with the badass duo of Kimiko “Kim Q” Quatro and Kimber “Kim D” Dantzler.
Part of a cowboy law enforcement operation and strapped for cash, the Kims hijack a lead on a high-stakes bounty, undercutting a powerful organization in the omniverse, the Catalans, headed by Kim Q’s father. While channeling her inner Haruko against her father’s elite bounty hunters wasn’t part of the plan, getting in over their heads seems to be what Kim & Kim are all about, especially when they know something’s not right. They may struggle with living life on their own terms, but they still prefer living all in and out loud.
Kim Q’s storyline in particular is personal for writer Magdalene Visaggio, who penned the character while undergoing her own transition process. The story has a lot of honesty and integrity because of it. Not because she wrote a character to be trans, but because she wrote a character who is trans and who god damn rocks it. That isn’t to say Kim Q has everything figured out, in fact, she’s not even close. She pretty much lives her life flying by the seat of her pants, much to the annoyance of her business partner Kim D. The latter is definitely the more rational, sober one, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have wild streak and she can definitely hold her own in a fight.
The two play off each other perfectly, and though it isn’t expressly stated if they share any kind of romantic relationship, it doesn’t really matter. The Kims have a really fun and engaging buddy dynamic and it’s clear their friendship will be the catalyst for the story’s emotional beats. Driving around in their interdimensional space van, it almost felt like a futuristic punk version of Thelma and Louise. There’s great candid conversation between the two and we get to find out a bit more about who they are and what they’ve been through. I have a feeling the story will hit some darker undercurrents in later issues and it will be really interesting to see how these characters evolve.
The Kims’ glam-punk style is reflected beautifully in Cabrera’s art and Aguirre’s bold and vibrant colours. Both Kims also sport pretty wicked outfits (I’ll definitely be rocking some Kim cosplay)! I was originally drawn to Tess Fowler’s cover art, which I felt perfectly embodied the personalities of these two characters, particularly in their facial expressions. It has more grit and realism to it than Cabrera’s interiors, which are more spunky and playful. It took me a little longer to warm up to Cabrera’s art, mostly because it wasn’t what I was expecting at first, but it really brings its own personality to the story. They could have been a bit more creative with the panel layout, like when traveling through interdimentional space. I felt they kept to a pretty traditional structure and missed an opportunity to break that mold, especially with characters that have such a loud presence on the page to begin with.
Overall, there are a few rough edges that need to be smoothed out, such as actions that are rather stiff, while others are dynamically fluid. Peppered throughout are panels that look more like quickly drawn web comics, mostly where there isn’t much contrast or deep shading in the colouring. This adds great DIY character and emphasizes comedic beats in some places, but other times it’s pretty jarring. Most panels have beautiful detail though and I loved how the Kims’ vibrant neon colours always set them off from the more pastel and subdued backdrops of society.
Buy It! Honestly, if interdimensional punk bounty hunters didn’t get you interested, I don’t know what will. Kim & Kim puts forth a strong LGBTQ-positive story and honestly embraces the nuances that comes along with it.
“I’ve always had a really fucked up relationship with femininity, so this book is smothered in neon pink and rainbows even while it’s a beautifully foulmouthed, violent, bloody book.” – Magdalene Visaggio
The entire story plays off that tonal energy and, like the brash confidence of its characters, Kim & Kim is unashamed in expressing its personality.