Author of the book Social Media Is Bullshit, B.J. Mendelson, delves into the creative world of comic fiction with his addition to the field, “Vengeance, Nevada.” Cover art for the issue is provided by Isidore Koliavras and interior art and letters are by Peter Czaplarski, with the story and characters written by Mendelson himself.
The comic begins with the main character who is first introduced by walking into a house where she is quickly greeted by a cat, and after some dialogue she leans back, commenting on her exhaustion before drifting off.
What stands out the most in this scene is the art. For the most part, the drawings are in black and white with the only color being from the character’s completely blue eyes and the text. The use of sparing spot color draws the eye, and the rest of the detail surrounding the scene gives an ominous feeling. This only pays off more when we are shown blood dripping down her boots.
After the character drifts off we are given a bit of backstory and the most notable difference to is the character herself, whose eyes are lacking the brilliant blue. The stoic nature of her face from the beginning panels is gone and we see a much more expressive woman.
We find the name of the woman is Kristen Jacobs, which is strange as the main character asks the cat in the first scene if her and Kristen can stay, showing that the main character we are following now is not completely the same woman in the flashbacks.
We are tossed into a bit of back story mainly involving Kristen, her son and the man she is in love with, Jake. Now this part of the comic has a lot going on, and as they say, blink and you may miss quite a bit. While I did understand the choice to have so much going on, I will admit that it can be confusing at first glance.
Needless to say, despite the amount of story going on in each panel, it continues to weave everything together and conveys Kristen’s facial expressions once again well enough that as an audience we are curious how she seemed to change so radically.
When the actions that happen within the panels finally come full circle to include our main character, we are once again greeted with color. Unlike the previous panels, however, it isn’t just small hints of blue, but an extremely detailed character. Kristen pursues the woman and when she loses her, we are greeted with the personification of death.
To not spoil too much I’ll give a very brief overview of what happens. Death offers something to Kristen and the characters decision impacts her fate drastically.
The poem in which death quotes is lovely and ties to the beginning of the comic, “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” I connected instantly to the tired Kristen with blood on her boots falling asleep in exhaustion.
Subtle moments are the writers strength here, when introduced to who I imagine are the heroic characters, we hear the words, “That thing is no longer Kristen,” and honestly I would say that the stark difference between Kristen of before and the woman we follow of now would make me inclined to agree accept for one small part.
Our main character is heard mumbling a song before drifting off in the beginning and Kristen of then was singing the song happily in the flashback. This shows a connection between the two that make me wonder at the crimes of our present main character, but does not make me inclined to think she is a completely different person.
As a reader of fiction and comics both, I will say this issue kicks off with a decent start and sets up a legitimate origin story. Now it is just a matter of seeing what the result of all that is and whether the dots can be connected quickly or dragged out. I am certainly intrigued to find out exactly who the main character is.
Readers interested in reading the indie comic can purchase a copy for $2.99 at Comixology where they can also subscribe to follow the series.
Nichole Harwood is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers alumni and art features. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.