No review box found! Insert a valid box ID.Black Badge #1 cover by Matt Kindt[/caption]
Black Badge #1 is a dark absurdist parody of the blind loyalty inherent in the Boy Scouts and, to a certain extent, the Armed Forces. The Black Badge troop goes into South Korea knowing only the broadest of strokes of their mission, and it is a life-threatening task.
The theme that is repeated in this first issue is the idea of blind trust. Willy joined up with the Black Badges after performing a dangerous task based on blind trust of his superiors. He was chosen for that blind trust. He trusts his fellow Scouts enough to cross into North Korea without knowing their purpose himself, and the other Black Badges trust their superiors enough to do the same.
All the while, there are subtle winks and nudges from Matt Kindt that he understands how absurd this setup is, from character profiles that include the mocking insults of the other children to Willy opening to the other Black Badges and being completely ignored. That absurdity is what makes the parody click, of course.
Kindt is joined by the artistic team of Tyler and Hilary Jenkins, recreating the same team that brought us Grass Kings. Their playful and almost storybook style creates a nice aesthetic for this tale of youths playing soldier. It’s an unnerving pairing that works well for the book. Tyler Jenkins employs even more caricature-like tactics for the characters than in Grass Kings, and Hilary Jenkins continues pale and faded shades occasionally cast against darker and more solidified color.
Black Badge #1 is am absurd yet chilling story of four young individuals going out into the far corners of the world to commit military espionage. It’s a strange and at-times funny story that is no less dark for its depiction of brainwashing and training up of youth to exhibit blind loyalty. This one earns a recommendation. Check it out.
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