In some stories, the teenaged Anth, also known as superhero/sidekick the Bulletproof Kid, is a powerful force to be reckoned with, the only one who can save the day. In others, he’s a bit bumbling and awkward, seemingly in way over his head. In one, he’s just an ordinary teenager with no powers, wondering what being a superhero would be like. And, in a couple, Anth doesn’t even appear at all.
Some of the stories are a little difficult to follow/understand. Some of them begin and end rather abruptly, before you really have a chance to register them. Still, creating these different stories with all different flows was the major point of this anthology, and every story has something to recommend it.
Even so, there are a few stories that really manage to stand out. We start off strong with “Bottoms Up,” written by Andrez Bergen, who collaborates with Kyme on a different anthology comic, Tales to Admonish. It’s a short and rather funny story wherein Bulletproof Kid faces a villain called The Tick—NOT the giant, blue guy played by Patrick Warburton. Not long after, we have “Extreme!!” written by Sue D’Nym (I’m guessing that’s not her real name.) and illustrated by Joe Roberts, who give us a bit of a '90s feel when a team of supervillains shows upthat hasn’t been active in about 20 years—and it shows. In this one, both Bulletproof Kid and his mentor Crusader are drawn as giant, musclebound action heroes.
Two of the other most enjoyable stories in the anthology take Bulletproof Kid to opposite extremes. In “War Crimes,” written and illustrated by Arthur Strickland (who does the art on the actual That Bulletproof Kid comic), we see Bulletproof Kid as a calm, quick-witted, and unflappable hero, whose latest enemy keeps enacting increasingly elaborate plans to destroy him with . . . umm . . . bullets. He’s not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Meanwhile, “The Speed of Thought,” written and illustrated by Thomas Tung, shows Bulletproof Kid as an insecure teenager, riddled with anxieties, not over the latest villain to attack the city, but over how he’s going to get out of class to go face him.
There are a number of other interesting stories in this anthology, as well. “Office of Strategic Services Unit” isn’t a story or a comic at all, but rather takes the form of a top secret government document. “A Magic Bullet” mostly features the lyrics of a song, and “That Robotproof Kid” is an entirely wordless comic featuring absolutely adorable artwork by Matt Emery of Bulletproof Kid fighting an army of robots. Yes, adorable. You have to see it.
Whether or not you’re familiar with the first issue of That Bulletproof Kid, this anthology comic is worth reading. The vastly different story and art styles mean that there’s something for everybody. There’s comedy, drama, action, even a bit of philosophy. If you’re a fan of superheroes, you’re sure to find something to like about That All-Star Bulletproof Kid.