Graphic Novel Review: Bang! Bang! BOOM! Vol. 1 by Melanie Schoen & Del Borovic

 
 
Jakub and Cheshire are gangsters in an alternate 1930s. Having just left the Kozlow Gang due to the boss fearing Cheshire's magical abilities, they head to Chicago to start anew, only to get immediately roped into doing a job for a local gang and landing smack dab in the middle of an even bigger mess.

Graphic Novel Review: Bang! Bang! Boom! Vol. 1 by Melanie Schoen & Del Borovic | reading, books, webcomics, urban fantasy, m/m, lgbt+
Title: Bang! Bang! BOOM! Vol. 1
Book Number: Volume 1
Pages: 204
My Rating:
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Webcomic
 

Review:

Ahhhh this is gonna be one of those long, rambly reviews because I ADORE this graphic novel! It is such a fantastic combination of the Jazz Era and magic with characters who will absolutely steal your heart… right after they steal some cash and jewels and booze ;-)

In case you want the short version, here’s a quick list of reasons to read this comic:

– magic and paranormal elements
– 1930s setting
– complex, lovable characters
– one of whom is always smiling
– the other of whom is always scowling
– both of whom are gangsters
– an adorable relationship that is seriously #RelationshipGoals
– freckles
– also shoulder freckles
– disability rep
– fantastic plot
– beautiful artwork
– did I mention the lovable characters?
– so many feels

And now the long version, because I still have so much more to say.

First I need to say that I love the artwork, because that’s important to me in a comic. It’s black and white, but it’s beautiful.

Second, it’s also got a great story. Well, kind of the start to a story since it’s a series, but don’t worry, it starts off with a… wait for it… bang! (Get it?!) *crickets chirp* Anyway… Character interactions feel natural and believable. There’s enough complexity to keep things interesting. The whole thing is gripping with moments of explosive action but also moments of quiet reflection and relationship struggles/adorableness.

The best thing of all though is the characters! I love these characters so much that you’d think I created them myself. They’re mine now. I’ve adopted them.

Jakub is a totally lovable grumpster. He’s got this hard outer shell and hardly ever smiles, but on the inside he has insecurities and he’s caring and smart and as loyal as it gets to those who’ve earned it. Just ridiculously, fiercely loyal. Jakub is ride-or-die. Everyone needs a Jakub in their life. I just wanna give him a big hug all the time for being so simultaneously scary, adorable, and sexy. But if anyone ever said that to his face, he’d just scowl. Unless Chesh said it, in which case he’d probably still scowl but would secretly love it.

Cheshire, on the other hand, is charismatic and cocky and charming and full of life and always smiling, but sometimes he uses that smile to cover up and avoid dealing with his own inner demons* or confronting serious stuff; but he too would do anything when it comes to Jakub.

*Note: *SPOILER* Literally šŸ˜‚ *END SPOILER*

They’re so opposite, but they’re so perfect together. You can tell how much they love each other without them having to say it. You can tell by how they treat each other and what they’re willing to do for each other. There are some great little moments throughout the story that will melt your heart when you read them.

“I bet you’re wishing you’d went along with us being strangers.”

“No.”

It’s kind of interesting though because these are two characters who are, technically, the bad guys. They’re gangsters. They commit all sorts of crimes. Some of them, especially the violent ones, are against other gangs, but still. And it’s so incredibly easy to forget that while you’re reading about them, which is why I liked when the comic shifted to show things from the law enforcement perspective at one point. Even though I obviously don’t want anything to happen to the guys, I couldn’t even hate the US Marshal working against them.

Also, I often think about how I want more characters who have some physical diversity, so I love that Jakub is full of freckles and Chesh wears glasses and has part of his ear missing from an injury.

Then there’s the 1930s setting, which is a little past the Prohibition Era (which is my favorite) but still awesome. And the fact that Chesh and Jakub are gangsters only makes it even more interesting. This is urban fantasy though, so there’s also magic and paranormal elements that play a big part in the story.

There’s some violence, but, even though it would be disturbing to see in real life, it doesn’t look too gruesome in the comic. And there’s some sex, but only a bit, and it’s not really explicit.

Last but not least, the story even has disability rep! Jakub has a prosthetic arm, and although the prosthetic he has works nearly as well as a regular arm, it’s mechanical (not magic) and is explained more in the prequel novel.

Anyway, I think I’ve raved enough. I love everything about this amazing comic, and it deserves all the stars!

 
 
Book Blurb

Bang! Bang! BOOM! takes place in an alternate history version of 1933 America, where technology is booming and magic is a curiosity rather than an impossibility. In this action-packed romance follow the exploits of protagonists Jakub Danowicz and Cheshire Bloom: gangsters, gamblers, and lovers, who for years have fought alongside each other as members of New York’s Kozlow Gang. Jakub’s cunning and unyielding stoicism paired with Cheshire’s carefree spirit and explosive magical abilities have earned them widespread notoriety, but it’s only after Jakub convinces Cheshire to leave town with him for Chicago that their real adventure begins.

Recommended for readers 17+ due to violent and suggestive content.

 
 
 

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  1. Bookworm Brandee

    You know I’m gonna check out this one, right? I mean, you didn’t steer me wrong with Saga so… This sounds so great, Kristen. The setting, the music, the relationship, the art…just…WOW! I’m rather excited. About a graphic novel!!! LOL Awesome review, my dear.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You should!!! And the great thing is, even if you don’t want to read the whole thing online, it’s a webcomic, so you can check out the art or story for free if you’re unsure whether you’ll like it :-) Thanks!

  2. Olivia-Savannah Roach

    YES! There are so many characters that I want to adopt for my own that I won’t even try to list them all here because it will take so long. Oh, and this sounds wonderful. I love that we get action and some jazz. I have to admit I was skeptical from the title but reading your review has me craving this one. I love that the artwork is good, that we have a loveable grumpy character and the setting and rep sound amazing. It’s gone straight onto my Goodreads wishlist. ;)

    1. Kristen Burns

      So many great characters out there! That’s interesting that the title made you skeptical. It’s so great though! And you can check out the webcomic if you can’t afford to buy it or if you want to give it a try first :-)

  3. Lola

    I like your rambling review and this graphic novel does sound great, I plan to check it out at some point. I used to read a lot of manga’s when I was younger and those are all black and white, so I don’t really mind that, as long as the art is good, which it sounds like it’s the case here. And I like the sound of how the character interactions feel natural and believable.

    And it’s great when you find characters you love that much. I like couples who are opposites, but work so well together. These two sounds awesome.

    And good to know that the violence doens’t look too gruesome in the comic.

    Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay! I had to kind of get used to the black and white, but I mind it now since the art is still very good. And I just adore these characters! I hope you enjoy this one if you do give it a try. I feel like the violence is something you could handle (hopefully). Thanks!

  4. Karen

    My library just emailed me that they just added a new comic book/GN reader app so I’m excited to use it once I get settled. I didn’t love the way they look viewing on my Kindle app and since it’s a new format for me – that makes it difficult at times.

    I’m keeping a list for the ones I was interested in based on reviews but I may hot you up for recs when I have time to read again.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, cool! I don’t know if I’ve ever read a GN on my Kindle. I just read them on my computer where I can see the pictures nice and big.

      I’m always here for recs! :-D

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Wait, is this the graphic novel you posted about before? I know that’s really vague, but wasn’t there like a kickstarter thing for it? It’s totally awesome vol 1 is out and you got to read and you loved it so much! It sounds like it met all expectations and more and I really like the sound of it and want to read. It seems like it’s fun with awesome characters you quickly grow attached to. It looked brilliant when you spoke about the kickstarter and still looks awesome now.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes, this is one of the Kickstarters I talked about and had some fun facts from the creators! It’s also a webcomic, but my copy arrived and the book is on Amazon and GR so it was a good time to finally review it :-) It really is great, and I love these guys!