Bolero #1 introduces readers to Devyn, a budding tattoo artist, and her partner Nat, an aspiring location scout. They are young and in love, and living it up in LA–for roughly the first half of this issue. For unexplained reasons, a breakup occurs, and then things get weird.
Their friend Amina, the lead singer of a band, invites an attempting-to-be-sober Devyn to come watch her band perform because she is going to propose to her boyfriend during the show. Devyn agrees, but to her dismay, Nat shows up with a new lover–which is hard to handle sober. Xion, a random guy, offers to buy Devyn a drink … which she accepts, gets drunk, has a hookup, misses the whole proposal, and tells Xion that she wishes that her life had turned out differently. Fortunately for her, Xion offers her the chance to start over via an Anti-Door, whereupon she meets Capgras (a godlike cat, because of course it is), who offers her the chance to visit 35 alternative universes.
Bolero is the best kind of science fiction: character-driven and unconventional. Yes, it’s a narrative with alternative universes and talking cats, but it’s just a good story no matter the genre. I was immediately drawn into Devyn’s story. Wyatt Kennedy’s writing is expressive and well-paced, and I especially enjoyed Devyn’s asides and inner-monologue. I also love the fact that the reason for the breakup is slowly revealed after the fact, and, reading back through the story, I observed smartly-placed visual cues that foreshadow what is to come. As much as I enjoyed reading about this one version of Devyn’s life, I’m even more intrigued to visit the other possibly 35 ones. And although I’m focusing on Devyn here, who is the protagonist, the supporting cast is also developed enough to where they feel like real people.
And the art by Luana Vecchio is gorgeous. Every page is mesmerizing, with beautiful color-work and texture-play. There’s a fluidity to it that pairs really nicely with the writing–and that goes for the lettering by Brandon Graham, as well. There are times when you read a comic and it’s obvious that the creative team clicks–like here.
I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this oversized introductory issue at your local comicbook shop this week; it’s well worth the cover price.