By Cat Wyatt
No. 1 With a Bullet is a relatively new series by Image, the first issue setting up a certain series of events, which this issue then focuses pretty heavily on. Nash, the main character, works at a tech industry, and had been a big believer in the whole “if you don’t want it on the internet, then don’t do it” belief, until it happened to her. The series poses the question of what will happen when the barrier protecting our privacy begins to shatter. We’re already seeing it happen; this story simply explores the idea in a more drastic light.
This issue is a little bit tricky to read, as there’s rapid bouncing between several scenes, sometimes with other the color palette being the only cue that things have changed. I’ll confess I had to go back a few times to puzzle it all together.
Nash is dealing with all the backlash from the leaked tape (for those that didn’t read issue one; a sex tape of Nash was released – it was filmed using cameras inside contact lenses, and she was never made aware of the fact that she was being filmed), there’s the public outcry (because they don’t have anything better to do, clearly), her career (more on that in a moment), and her girlfriend’s reaction.
I’m not going to waste any time talking about the public’s reaction, I’m sure you can guess all of that. There’s the usual mixture of outrage over it and the perverts using the footage; though there was more open ogling than I expected (people opening watching it on the street and such). I suppose that’s what we have to look forward to in the future?
Her company’s reaction to the released tape is actually pretty horrifying. I actually had to read it a few times to make sure I understood what was happening; they have a Morals Clause (no joke) and a NDA that she has signed. The resulting legal conclusion is she’s not allowed to talk about the tape (even to defend herself), oh and they might fire her. They haven’t decided. But it’s ok; they want to pay her off to make it all ok (not that she accepts the money).
I was confused about why the company wanted to pay her off at first, but then it occurred to me there’s a few pieces to the puzzle we’re missing. For one, the camera tech used to film her is being developed by her company (and presumably no others, but I can’t confirm that obviously). That means the unidentified partner in the video (since it’s being filmed from his eyes, his face doesn’t exactly appear in the footage) is probably an employee, and if I had to guess a high enough ranking one to have access to the experimental tech. I’m sure we can all guess what level he’d have to be to have the company trying to cover for him.
I’m disappointed in Nash’s girlfriend. We can all agree what has happened to Nash is awful, no matter how you want to look at it. Therefore the people that care about Nash the most should, you know, actually be supporting her right now. Not running off because they can’t deal with the thought of what happened (even though it was made clear that Nash in no way cheated on her, this all apparently happened before they got together). I’m not sure if we’ll be seeing her character again, but who knows.
After pages of watching Nash get dumped on (which I’m not going to lie, was pretty tough) it was really great to see somebody on the news stand up and defend Nash. Even better, that very woman motivated Nash to start talking and defending herself. Of course, this may have directly resulted in some other oddities that occur, such as the break in and cryptic message (“if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”).
Now, I told all of this in a fairly linear fashion, but the issue does it differently. Again, as I mentioned above, they change to different events rapidly, letting all of the pieces fall together in a different order. I just felt this was the easiest way to talk about it.
If I’m being honest, I’m actually feeling a little conflicted by this series. I love the concept; exploring the idea of the loss of privacy - many science fiction fans believe that there will be zero privacy in the future, but it won’t matter because everyone will be in the same boat, but rarely have I seen the transitional time between our society and that society touched upon. It raises a lot of uncomfortable questions, but I think they’re things we need to think about regardless.
This series also brings up another important point; victim blaming and our society’s tendency to do so. We know that Nash did not consent to the filming or releasing of the sex tape. All she consented to was sex (which she is fully capable and allowed to do). And yet the press is all over her like she’s the one in the wrong here, instead of the man who filmed her and (presumably) released the tape.
And finally, the bible passage written on Nash’s wall: If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? It’s pretty easy to see how this one is connected to the plot of the story. Many agree that the use of foundations here means morals, this it is questioning the loss of morals and what would happen as a result. In a society that’s already transitioning so much, it’s no surprise that this concern is on at least one person’s mind.
I love the art style used in this series. It feels rougher, almost like I’m seeing the artwork before it has had a chance to get smoothed out. It makes everything feel more alive and organic. The color palettes compliment it nicely – sometimes they border on the monochromatic side, such as lots of shades in the same family used for one scene. This really helped to identify which scene was which sometimes. Most of the colors were also muted or pastels (nothing like what is on the cover) which really helped to support the heavier and more somber plot.
No. 1 With a Bullet #2