By Bryan Edward Hill, Rhoald Marcellius & Sakti Yuwono
Bonehead #1 is the start of an exciting new cyberpunk series from writer Bryan Edward Hill, artist Rhoald Marcellius and colourist Sakti Yuwono. The book itself introduces an exciting new Mirror’s Edge-esque future that draws influence from all sorts of cyberpunk stories, such as Blade Runner and Akira, where the protagonist is a part of a masked vigilante gang known as Boneheads that use neuro-linked helmets to enhance their physical abilities.
The conventional approach to plotting is ignored in Bonehead and rather than deliver expository dialogue or monologues, the creative team instead opts for a visual-heavy feast that gives you a good idea about what to expect, containing plenty of thrills and exciting moments, delivering a non-stop issue that barely slows down. The character development of the protagonist, 56, a member of the Bonehead organization is interesting. It’s not the main focus of the issue, as it’s mainly action-driven, but the available character-focus is presented much like the story development, it shows rather than tells. An interesting quirk that Hill chooses for his character, giving him emoticons to express his thoughts rather than normal speech, doesn’t feel out of place in the setting at all, as you are informed about the story and the world primarily through its art moreso than anything else, which is why having someone as good as Rhoald Marcellius on board is essential in helping this comic meet its full potential.
Marcellius’ artwork is fantastic. The sweeping city-scape leads way to some excellent visuals that make the most out of the setting provided. The visuals are a real treat in this issue, with great attention to detail. Each page is fresh, and contains plenty of depth. The city itself feels alive, almost as much of a main character as 56 does in the book, which is really important when introducing a new setting. It’s clear and crisp, with the layout playing to the strengths of the action-heavy narrative.
Sakti Yuwono’s colours are impressive too, with 56 really standing out against the background in an effective way that gives his character a distinctive look. The technologically advanced city feels more Mirror’s Edge than Blade Runner in terms of not just visuals but also storyline, with 56’s drone-hopping parkour making for an interesting story hook. The parkour adds an exciting dynamic that so far, is executed well, with the book always feeling like it’s on the move as it takes you from one scene to the next.
The storyline is the main weakness here. But as mentioned above, it’s still early stages for the series. The bold decision begins amidst the heat of action is mostly successful at setting expectations going forward. It’s too early to call as to whether or not this book deserves a place on pull-lists. There is plenty of potential here, with world-building and parkour elements being the most eye-catching moments in the series, as well as stunning visuals, but for now, the storyline is the major drawback, being rather one-note and predictable.
With lots of competition on shelves, Bonehead is going to have to do a lot to grab your attention, but for now, there’s enough about the series that should pique readers curiosity, and it’s almost worth picking up for the artwork alone.