Boom Bandits Volume 1 – Comic Review

Boom Bandits is a new, self-contained one-shot comic from writer and artist Bruno Stahl, that depicts a grim and gritty future where the elderly get to live forever in their huge city, whilst the young are forced to eke out a life in the ruins of the old world.

The book is chiefly about divides, how different generations and classes view the others, and how conflict between these groups is not only common but almost expected. The story isn’t so much as a thinly veiled allegory, but an out and out depiction of the conflict between Boomers and Millenials, and the book proudly shouts that throughout.

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I’m sure even if you never pick up a tabloid paper, or visit their websites, you’ll be aware of the articles that proclaim Millenials are killing one industry or another, how their unwillingness to spend money that they don’t have is killing the diamond industry, or if they just went without their damn avocados they could afford a house that’s out of their budget. People from older generations, who are normally the ones responsible for the state of the economy, are very quick to blame the younger generations for the problems out of their control, and this sets these generations at odds; and this is precisely what Bruno Stahl seems to be trying to address here.

In Boom Bandits the Boomer generation have all of the comforts that they could ever want. They get pandered to in their entertainment, they get to live in luxury, and get to literally live forever; whilst the Millenials are left to sit in the ruins left behind by the Boomers and fight over what little they can find. But, as is often the case in oppressive regimes, eventually there comes a point where enough is enough, and this is what the book focuses on. There’s an event that sparks what can only be described as a revolution, and it seems pretty clear that this is in part Stahl venting his frustrations at being unable to challenge the inequalities in the real world, as most people probably feel.

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One of the things that really jumped out at me about the book was the look and feel of it. Presented in black and white illustrations, the book reminded me a lot of 2000AD, and the grim and gritty comics they have produced over the years. Much like with 2000AD, Boom Bandits is heavy on the political commentary, and the similarity in art style really makes it feel like someone has just lifted a story from that book and presented it here – which is not a criticism in any way.

You can come to Boom Bandits without any knowledge of what the creator is commenting on and you’ll see an engaging story about one group of people fighting for their freedom and rights against another and you’ll probably enjoy it; but if you’re aware of the intentions you’ll get a little more out of it, and will see that it’s not just a fun one-off tale, but is trying to make a point on a generational divide that is often used to politicise and police people in the real world.

Boom Bandits is a strong comic, one that manages to be entertaining, engaging, and evocative. It has a bold and vivid art style that really complements the tone of the story, and provides the reader with plenty to look at as you scour through every panel looking for interesting things in the backgrounds. Not only would I recommend this book, I’m interested in seeing what the creator does next.

Boom Bandits Volume 1 is out on 2nd April. You can read the first five pages for free here.

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