By Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, Zakk Saam, and Katy Rex
Kim & Kim: Love is a Battlefield #1 is unlike any other comic you will find on the shelves today. This issue is the first in a four-issue arc that is a follow-up to 2016’s Kim & Kim vol 1. The book is filled with tons of action dealing with two mercenaries who are on the lookout for a big score while having lots of fun and kicking lots of ass. The book gives us two deeply relatable female protagonists, each named Kim, who each have their own share of demons to face, all while dealing with trying to get by. This first issue of the second volume takes place while Kim and Kim think they finally scored the big bounty they have always been searching for, but people from the Kim’s past show up and attempt to thwart their big score.
This issue of Kim & Kim really takes a deeper dive into the history of Kim D., you can probably call her the stable Kim, the one who carries the gun over the guitar. Writer Visaggio takes the time to build the relationship between Kim and Kim throughout the first volume, and we also get some backstory on Kim Q. where we learned how her dad is the big deal head of a big deal mercenary company. That foundation from the first volume really allows this issue the ability to build upon the existing dynamic between the Kim’s and introduce some new dynamics that test their relationship. Some of the great writing of this series and this issue in particular stems from the fact that these two characters have set and stable characteristics that are consistently reinforced throughout the story. We see Kim D. plan a thorough strategy for taking down the mark that only gets ignored when Kim Q. gets all punch happy and overenthusiastic about the violence. Then, when success in within their grasps an ex-girlfriend from Kim D.’s past comes along to mess it all up. Visaggio has planted such firmly built characters in our mind with the Kims that when they are faced with adversity, we can already envision how the characters will react. The story does not come from the adversity that happens, but how the Kims eternally support one another and accept each other, shortcomings and all. Even though these two women are kind of a mess, they are authentic characters that make you root for them the entire time.
The creative team from the first volume is all back together with Eva Cabrera on lineart with colors from Claudia Aguirre. The gang may very well be back together, but the art this time around has a different feel to it. Much like the characters, there is a maturity and refinery that has been placed upon this issue. This issue shows the evolution our characters have undergone since we last saw them. Each is equipped with some new hairstyles, new tattoos, and a more grown-up taste in clothing. Well, kind of. It’s not just the Kims that have been given the fancy new makeover, the panel layouts and pencils in this issue feel more mature and sure of themselves. The book has a nice flow that is not interrupted by continuously reinforcing our character’s differences or spending time with exposition. Cabrera shows her depth as an artist with her rich detail work and gorgeous panel layouts. The book has a calm sense about it, like the creative team already knows this book is successful, so they do not have to worry about doing over the top things, but focus on delivering a great story and art.
You cannot read Kim & Kim: Love is a Battlefield #1 without mentioning the queer representation throughout this book. It is something that should be normal like, this review should not even have to mention it as a point of accolade for the book. The fact that these characters are queer or trans should just be another word used to describe the characters and not be the sole word to describe them. This story from Visaggio has so much going on that the fact that are two heroines are queer and one is trans seems to be non-vital information. Being queer and trans in this universe is so uneventful and mundane it is aspirational. Which is why it does feel kind of wrong for applauding this comic for the representation, it is something that should be normalized and uneventful and even mundane, but that is not the comic world we live in yet. So, here we are and it is worth noting the representation this comic of the LGBTQ community. It is important to portray a queer character beyond a single storyline, but within their own world perspective. This book does a lot to help give us more diverse leading female characters with this series, and even for people who do not identify with that community there is still a lot to love about this book.
This book is a good comic, with or without the queer representation, and it absolutely delivers. The story is solid, a full non-stop action ride that takes us from an all out brawl to a rave and then back to more brawling. Sprinkled in-between this we get some serious character development from the Kims that will make you fall even more in love with the two. Kim & Kim: Love is a Battlefield #1 should be sold as a great action space comic about two kick ass bounty hunters trying to get their rent paid through bringing in bad guys; anyone who can appreciate that in a comic will love this book. Sure, this book also does a lot to give readers a more diverse array of books with leading women, but that should not be the only reason you read this book. The story and the art will make you fall in love with this characters and this universe, making you fully invested in what happens next.