‘Black Badge #10:’ Advance Comic Book Review

There was a story beat in the eighth issue of Black Badge, a series about Boy Scouts that work for our government, that I keep hoping will be a misdirect even though I stand by the decision Matt Kindt made as the creator. Some things should just be as they are, especially when they are decisions that invest the reader on an entirely new emotional level. Now, anything could potentially happen to anyone. To break your characters, means that any of them could be broken. To remove the reverence you have towards your own creations means challenging the readers in surprising ways.

I have to admit, as much as I trust Kindt as a writer, I wasn’t 100% on board for the first few issues of this ongoing. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it. Black Badge started as a slow burn, and now every issue ends with a cliffhanger that makes me yearn as if I was yearning for a lover that was going away for a month. Black Badge #10 continues that tradition by introducing new information that feeds directly into this a new cliffhanger.

This series is a lesson in how to heighten, how to not waste pages or even panels. Every moment is used to elevate the emotional involvement and advance the plot while still making it feel like it’s a kick-ass adventure starring a group of brave Boy Scouts who are going up against a potentially corrupt government. Talk about living vicariously! I used to have day dreams that I was wrapped up in something heroic like this. Would it hurt my credibility if I said I still do?

Tyler Jenkins is doing an incredible job of visually honing in on these moments and bringing them to life. Another element they nail in this issue is the use of flashbacks to advance the story without it feeling like heavy handed exposition. We shift back and forth from a previous generation of Black Badge kids to our current lot as mysteries begin to unravel. Jenkins' work in this past era is so much fun, picking up elements of British Avengers TV show (not the Marvel series).

Follow this series if you haven’t already; it’s a labor of love for me to read, because you can tell the creators love what they’ve created.

Now for a little extra credit. Kindt likes playing with format and world-building on a sort of elevated level. You saw it in how his modern classic, Mind MGMT, was presented to the reader. There are some subliminal moments in this book that pop up. We’ve already seen a connection to Kindt and Jenkins’ other collaboration, Grass Kings (which was another stellar slow burn of a series). Now, the term “mind management” has been used in this issue, along with the word “LIME” written on something a background character is holding. Things like that don’t slip into a comic accidentally. What it means and how much this will connect with other series Kindt has created, I don’t know, but it certainly makes for some fun investigative theorizing.

Creative Team: Matt Kindt (story), Tyler Jenkins (art), Hilary Jenkins (colors), Jim Campbell (letters), Eric Harburn (editor), Scott Newman (designer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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