Review: Big Bastard #1

Let me tell you something… it was very difficult to write the word “Bastard” and not add the “S” on the end. Big Bastard, has a great title and I’m not just saying that because we have a weird bastard kinship going on, it’s just a title that rolls off the tongue. What about the book you’re probably asking; well it’s already been nominated for two awards so that’s a good sign, but let’s break it down with a review shall we. There are two things that I appreciated with this issue. The first was that there was a pronunciation sheet for those like myself, which are not familiar with traditional Irish words. Words like “Howth” which is pronounced “Hoe-th.” I genuinely appreciate when a creator takes the time to do this because coming across an unfamiliar word can break the immersion of a story and that is a terrible thing to do to your reader. The second thing is that not every question is answered. In fact, no questions are answered and that was okay with me.

Big Bastard #1Ireland, 1899; a young boy runs through the forest playing with a stick as a pretend sword until he trips and falls. His head just barely misses a large bone sticking out of the ground which has caught the young boy’s eye now, never mind the fact that he almost died. He begins struggling with the bone until he finally frees it from the ground. After a mild celebration he reaches out to touch the stone that is attached to the bone, but falls over. Suddenly a spirit version of the boy is standing before the object and a shadowy figure is beside him. The figure tells him that if he picks up the weapon he will unlock his destiny and control great power. The boy does, but when he picks it up a purple fog explodes from the site and begins to flood the surrounding areas.

From there we follow the purple fog as it erupts through towns all across Ireland and introduces us to our other four main characters. Some of them are given their own magical objects, while others have something happen to them that changes them forever. It’s clear though that these five people are now connected through this event.

I really enjoyed this issue. I’ll be honest, I don’t have a clue as to what’s going on and that’s awesome. I don’t want to figure it out; I want to experience it while I’m reading. What I do know is that the kid unleashed some serious shit and now he’s got to deal with it, but not without some help.

The writing is very strong and I appreciated the creative way the characters were introduced. The one event becomes a clever story device that allows for the narrative to jump from one character to the next and basically continue doing this as we check in with them again after the blast. The mystery of what’s happening is interesting, but also not very deep. There’s a clear answer, but it hasn’t been revealed yet. There’s not a lot of dialogue, but some of it made me laugh and the rest of it really supports the visuals.

There’s a lot going on with the artwork and to me there seemed to be two different styles at work. There’s the line work which has an animated feel to it with the character designs and physicality of the narrative, but then there’s also digital artwork as well. The two blend together wonderfully and give the story a unified look. An impressive amount of the story is conveyed only through the visual which also adds to the mystery of what’s going on in the story. The coloring stood out to me as it has more of a rustic earthy look to it. The tones are also muted which works quite well with the story and gives the book a unique look.

For first time creators this comic is very impressive. It was a quick read, but due to the quality I wanted to go back through it again upon finishing it. I’ll be looking forward to the future issues and can understand why it’s catching people’s attention. It has glimpses of superheroes, but like none you’ve ever seen before. If you’re looking for a great read then I would definitely recommend Big Bastard… and yes I did almost type “bastards” just now.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Danny McColgan Artist: Neil O’Driscoll Self-Published Price: $2.68 US (approximately), €1.99 Website