KLIK KLIK BOOM #1 by Doug Wagner, Doug Dabbs, Matthew Wilson, and Ed Dukeshire spins a very intriguing tale that truly grips you with how it presents itself over the course of 22 pages. It expects you to give it a chance for most of its page space until it finally gives you the answers you’re looking for and sets up more.
If you’re familiar with Doug Wagner, you know what his comics are about. There’s violence, with an absurdity to that violence, and the theme of that absurdity is what manages to attract your attention. Here, we follow our protagonist Sprout, who is mute, leaving her only method of communication to be polaroids – polaroids that she takes herself and carries with her everywhere she goes.
Klik Klik Boom #1 sees her go through what initially looks to be a day in the life before showing us a series of events that seem random in hindsight until the big reveal finally ties those pieces together and shows us what’s beneath the hood.. It’s good; it’s interesting and paced extremely well, making you want more. The only downside is the ending feels abrupt in comparison to the rest of the issue. I understand the need to leave things on cliffhangers in order to get the reader to come back for more, but I feel like this could have been better in terms of how it’s presented rather than feel like it was a part of a larger sequence that just got cut in half due to page space.
That being said: Absurd violence isn’t the only thread through his work; there’s another. Whenever there’s a scene, the panels are almost always from the same camera angle, sometimes zooming in and out or tilting slightly in any direction while keeping the central focus consistent. When reading those panels in sequence, it creates a near perfect illusion of motion, where you, as a reader, feel like you’re an observer to the events before you rather than seeing something through a camera. This is present here in a lot of sequences, and it’s what absolutely pulled me into the whole thing. A lot of panels in comics I read are usually presented in dynamic cuts, so it was fantastic to see a different approach to the whole thing, especially the action sequences.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the talents of Doug Dabbs and Matthew Wilson. Dabbs’ art style involves a lot of lines on faces, while his backgrounds are left more “clean”, all while having extremely detailed art throughout. The expressions on the characters’ faces are always visible, even when they’re far away from the panel and not the central focus. He also takes the extra length and draws in the reflections in every panel – whether it’s on Sprout’s sunglasses or her camera lens, the latter of which always has the reflections drawn through the perspective you’d see if you saw it through a fish-eye lens.
Wilson’s colours are always on point – making sure Sprout’s hair is always bright, like neon, and eye-catching amongst the sea of the more regular people and buildings all around. The use of ben-day dots throughout also create a sense of texture without using too many colours, which keeps things simple while also allowing the colours to really shine on what the panel requires it to. There’s two sequences where this marriage of both is used perfectly – one during a fight scene in the dark, and the other is a singular panel that even seen independently, perfectly shows the panic the character is feeling, even if you got rid of the dialogue around it.
Dukeshire’s lettering is always good. In conjunction with the art, the dialogue or sound effects never block or interrupt anything on page, and the shape of speech bubbles change along with the style of the letters depending on whether they’re speaking normally, or whispering, or shouting at a glance, thus never taking the reader out of the experience. The sound effects are also awesome, using different fonts and colours to accentuate them at any given moment.
Overall, Klik Klik Boom #1 was a very compelling read. I’m interested in the questions this issue sets up, and I’m eager to keep reading to see where it leads, on top of the fantastic presentation given to us here.