Last year Boom Bandits was released, giving comic readers a one-shot comic that took a look at the roles of different groups in society through a sci-fi lens, resulting in an interesting critique of the boomer vs millennial conflict. With the comic presenting a fairly self-contained and interesting story it’s somewhat surprising to see it return for a second issue some eighteen months later, and one that ends with the clear message that more is to come.
The first issue introduced us to a world where the old live in luxury, spending their lives in high-tech towers where their every whim is catered to, and where they quite literally get to live forever. The younger generations are forced to try and eke out a living in the ruins of the old world, the one the boomers literally left behind; a world that sees them suffer, yet one where they get blamed for their suffering. At the end of the previous issue a revolution had begun, a message of hope for a better future was given, and the story seemed to come to an end. But it looks like the story of that revolution isn’t over.
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This issue opens with flashback that shows us a little more of what life for the boomers is like, and gives us the origins story for Pixie, the young girl who has become one of the two faces of the revolution. From her humble beginnings we return to the present, where Pixie sits on a throne, her followers cheering for her, as her mechanical monstrosity watches over her, ready to hand out violence. It’s here that we get our first look at the real conflict in this new chapter of the story. It’s no longer millennial vs boomer, as Freydank, Pixie’s older brother, watches on as his sister amasses her supporters, unhappy with what he’s seeing.
With how politically minded the first issue was, and how much commentary on our real world was contained within its pages, it’s hard not to wonder if this might not be doing the same, and if the story of division in this movement (literally in a family) isn’t commentary on how progressive movements seem to often turn on each other. I’m sure we’ve all seen it beforeL communities that start to fight within themselves, calling out problematic behaviours, those coming to defend people that they like, schisms forming and a united community fracturing into smaller groups. The right often like to hold up examples of the ‘warring left’ as a reason that progressives will always fail, because before long they fracture. Is this where this book is turning; is this the point that’s trying to be made, or is Bruno Stahl simply telling a story? Only they can answer that question, but it certainly seems to fit with the themes of the franchise.
The fracturing of the united force leads to a situation that leaves the younger people in a much worse situation than the first issue, and it’s clear that the story isn’t done, especially with the tag line of the next issue being the ‘epic conclusion’. It’s not clear is the first issue was always meant to be a first part of a trilogy, or if the decision to expand and continue the story came later. The end of the first issue could be read either as a conclusion or the beginning, so it’s hard to tell. If it’s always been the intention to have three parts of the story it does raise the question of how long we’ll have to wait for the final part, with an eighteen month wait between the first and second.
The art, by Bruno Stahl, is as good as the first issue, and may even be better. Some of the odd advertisement pages from the first issue are absent here, with more of a focus on the action and the characters, and Stahl is definitely at their best with that. Some of the best moments in the book are the larger panels, where you get to see crowds worshipping Pixie, or when Freydank leaps into battle against mechanical foes. It all looks great, and there’s nothing to be faulted with the art at all, and fans of gritty British comics will be sure to enjoy it.
With it unclear how long we’ll have to wait for the conclusion to the story it’s hard to know how excited to get. The story is decent, and the new elements introduced here are certainly interesting, but it might be worth waiting until the final piece of the story is out before becoming invested in the series.
Boom Bandits Volume 2 is out now from Helldunkel Studios.