BLACK BADGE #1: Boy Scouts Black Ops BOOM! And yes, these teens travel the hostile world where no one else can go and explosions are imminent.
The Eisner Award-Nominated Team (for Grass Kings) Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins reunite to offer up a gem.
BLACK BADGE #1 from BOOM! Studios features up a unique Boy Scout troop, not unlike the MI6 “00” division.
Is your Honor Badge made of C-4? Then you have not earned the Black Badge.
Parts of the top-secret Black Badge Boy Scout manual greets the reader through excerpts sprinkled along the inner and back cover pages.
A regular troop member will recognize the Boys Scouts’ manual’s style, but not believe the contents:
“How you received your Black Badge is privileged information. Guard it with your life.
“-Black Badge Handbook”
A diagram of a Boy Scout uniform containing a pocket lined with solidified sarin gas and marking the Black Badge itself noted as a throwing star, in disguise, will give readers an idea of where the covert team’s members might have to go to survive their incredibly dangerous missions.
BLACK BADGE #1 features a teenage troop possibly as deadly and daring as the Navy Seals.
The art style is unique and grasps the emotions of the troop of characters forced to work together on their first mission with a new member, Willy.
Matt Kindt’s writing is superb, the storyline and world building, and dialogue incredibly realistic and full of surprises.
Tyler Jenkins’ art is utterly gorgeous in its innovation and the colors by Hilary Jenkins are amazing in their subtle detections of mood or setting changes.
What goes down when Willy captures every Boy Scouts badge?
His dad seems to know whom to notify of this feat, and Willy is introduced to an Army-type man and told of one more badge . . . the Black Badge!
And Willy is off with his new troop in hopes to earn this badge . . . in South Korea.
And here the writing takes an immediate hold, as a repulsive bully from a school trip begins to make fun of the four Boy Scouts for their traditional Scout garb.
Little does the bully know that behind the Boy Scout sash there are throwing knives.
Kenny is the leader, Mitz is the short in stature tall in arrow use, and Cliff carries a mean walking stick with its own secrets and almost loses his cool while they are taunted by the bully.
Kenny steers him clear and their canoe is off northward.
Willy is a smart, naïve guy in husky pants, and he wonders if the Black Badge troop has lost a fourth member, which he is replacing.
He tells them of his last badge earned a diving test where he had to lose his gear and trust there would be a cave with air, as he was told.
He is loyal and trusting. He earns the badge.
The Black Badge program takes advantage of the intelligence and age and loyalty of its members.
So the troop crosses the border into North Korea.
Willy sleeps unsoundly when he realizes why he is there: they are sent because they are kids. Kids get lost. Kids are harmless. Kids can get in and get away with it.
The troop marks a village where their mission is to extract a nuclear scientist.
Kenny directs the team: Cliff marks the hut with his electronic laser, and Willy calls in the coordinates.
But then a plane sheds its bomb and an explosion evaporates the village.
As the kids are approached on their exit, they are recognized as frightened Boy Scouts and sent back to South Korea.
Willy questions whether or not they are doing the right thing, but their leader Kenny informs him that “they” tell the troop just enough to go on and the troop has to trust “them.”
The dialogue is freaking kick-ass:
Kenny: “Nobody can do what we can do. No one can go where we can go. This world needs fixing and it sure as heck ain’t the adults who are gonna fix it.”
This is a powerful book!
A big thank you to my LCS Red Shirt Comics owner Josh for his Captain’s Pick of BLACK BADGE #1 – if it was not for him I would have missed out on this sure to be amazing new series.
Go get yours before they sell out!