REVIEW: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank #5

What Previews Says:

11-year-old Paige and her weirdo friends have a problem: a gang of ex-cons need her dad’s help on a heist… the problem is those ex-cons are morons. If Paige wants to keep her dad out of trouble, she’s going to have to pull off the heist herself.

4KWIAB is a very dark & moderately humorous story about friendship, growing up, d & d, puking, skinheads, grand larceny, & family. As told by TYLER BOSS (Lazarus, Vice.com) & MATTHEW ROSENBERG (We Can Never Go Home, S.H.I.E.L.D.: Quake)

What we say:

There is something oddly satisfying watching a pubescent “Ocean’s Eleven” style bank heist.

We start the tale watching the gang make their great escape post-heist. They are running from the cops, jumping over canyons in their beat-up van, and landing on the clouds; meeting dead relatives and Care Bears and My Little Ponies…. Wait…what?

This is the fever-dream ending that goes through mind of a wounded kid. I won’t say which one, I won’t even hint at the gut-punch ending. All I can do is applaud the creators of this comic. This is a book that not only captures the tone and character of each teen with deft skill; it also is balanced in keeping the action and tension tight.

I grew up with oddballs like this group of kids. They were funny, eccentric, and looking for any excuse to have an adventure. They picked on one another, played tough, and in the end would do anything to help each other. We have all known friends like these. The downside is that watching this group of misfits is that you can’t pull them aside and explain just how much trouble they are headed for if they go through with their insane idea of robbing a bank with squirt guns.

It’s this instant connection with the reader that sets this series apart. You feel like you’re part of the group. You are cheering for Paige and company to succeed. You laugh at the banter between Berger and Walter, one is a clueless goofball and the other is a soft-spoken genius with a history of puking when he gets nervous. (This is often) It’s all of this and the rag-tag costumes that the kids use to rob the bank that make you hope for a clean getaway.

Rosenberg has ended this series in the strongest way possible. Even after 48 pages I wanted more. That’s a hell of an accomplishment for any comic writer; yet in the same breath I can say that I walked away feeling that the story had reached a unique and satisfying conclusion.  I didn’t want the ride to end, but I was happy with the destination. (That doesn’t mean that the story ends happily, in fact the end was shocking)

Artist Tyler Boss also put in a great effort on this comic. His style falls firmly between Hawkeye’s Daivd Aja and the legendary Darwyn Cooke; an inky cartoon fusion that mimics reality in a way that is familiar yet somehow slightly askew. Boss brings the heat in this series and it is worth buying the book just to enjoy the art.

While I was impressed by this offering from Black Mask Studios I am saddened that my time with the four kids has come to a close. But who knows…every good heist crew has to start somewhere. This could be the origins of a crime team that fans could really get behind.

Final Score: 4 out of 5 squirt guns.

4 Kids Walk into a Bank #5
Story: Matthew Rosenberg
Art/Colors: Tyler Boss
Letters: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Black Mask Studios

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