The hits keep coming in Bang! #2 from Dark Horse Comics. Washed out detective John Shaw finds himself facing Goldmaze terrorists on an LA bound train containing a dirty bomb. Will he live to tell the tale, or will he, and LA, glow in the dark for the next 100 years? Find out in your latest Major Spoilers review!
Story: Matt Kindt
Artist: Wilfredo Torres
Colorist: Nayoung Kim
Letterer: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Editor: Daniel Chabon
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 17th, 2019\
Previously in Bang! When John Shaw’s wife left him, he had nothing, other than a dirty, one bedroom apartment. Then the packages started coming, FedExd by a mysterious supplier. Each package contains inhalers that increase speed, intellect and strength. Armed with these, John Shaw has become a one-man strike force against the terrorist organisation known as Goldmaze!
Bang! #2 is a welcome respite from a world which has literally gone to hell in a hand basket, where everyone’s minds have turned to survival, both health and economically. Given the times, it almost feels obscene to enjoy this as much as I did, but if we’re all going down, let’s do it with a smile, yeah?
John Shaw is the recipient of a regular package containing inhalers whose contents are keyed to his DNA. Using them increases his speed, or intellect, or strength. His focus is on fighting a terrorist organisation known as Goldmaze, and his exploits have been written up, amusingly, in novelisations. He is recognised on a train going to Los Angeles, and he sheepishly owns up to some of his abilities and activities. And that’s when the shooting begins.
As I said at the start, Bang #2 is a comic that will put a smile on your face. It’s breezy fun, opening with a page from a story featuring John Shaw’s fictionalized exploits, before bursting into a train carriage. Matt Kindt’s writing never lets up, matched by the art from Wilfredo Torres, particularly the way his panel placement maintains the fast paced narrative.
Kindt knows how to structure his story. There’s the scene setting of the novel extract, then a flashback to an adventure on a cruise ship, before the main action kicks off. It shows how Shaw is a self-deprecating hero, but one who is effective nonetheless. When the terrorist action occurs, the reader is keyed into Shaw’s abilities, at just the moment they are needed. The reaction of several of the passengers to Shaw’s presence is the sort of thing fans do when they meet their heroes. It is doubly amusing to see these fans then gunned down while Shaw watches on (it’s been a tough week, guys).
In an era where many action thriller comics are filled with morose, po-faced protagonists skirting (if not actively leaping) over the line between good and evil, it’s great to read a comic such as Bang! #2 featuring a no-nonsense character who works his way through a problem without first resorting to his fists (sure, he resorts to them later, but only after thinking about it). John Shaw is the sort of everyman hero that seems to be fading from comics, so if the success of series like this leads to a resurgence, then that can only be a good thing. In the interim, while the industry catches up, we can all enjoy future issues of Bang!
BOTTOM LINE: GOOD, CLEAN FUN
Comics and fiction in general are a great way to distract people from the day to day troubles of our lives. It’s just fun and relaxing to immerse yourself in a slice of fiction, to revel in the action, commiserate with the losses and generally distance yourself from the concerns of what is happening today. There’s also a visceral thrill in Bang! #2 from seeing a character being able to deal with his problems (ie Goldmaze) that helps deal with our own inability to deal with the current crisis the world is facing. It’s not shame to want to be distracted, and in fact it is a good thing to do something that stops you from overwhelmed by the relentless tide of bad news swirling around us.
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A one-man army assisted by a secretive organization that only on the last page comes out of the shadows, Bang! #2 does exactly what the title suggests and provides an all action comic that entertains from start to finish. There are hints of a mystery being readied to be unveiled, dastardly villains with terrible facial scars, and a protagonist we can all root for. Bang! #2 is a more than welcome addition to your collection, so go out (lockdown permitting!) and buy buy buy!