Stop Me if You've Heard this One
Writer by: Mathew Rosenberg
Art by: Tyler Boss and Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Review By: Branden Murray
I rolled the dice here for “Just for the hell of it Mondays” on a popular new indie title that dropped this week called 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank. Now this grabbed my attention for a couple reasons. First the title sounds like the start of an awful joke in the vain of “two guys walk into a bar …”, and I’m always down for adding bad new Dad jokes to my mental rolodex. The second reason being, I really wanted to see what all the hubbub was about, it was collecting quite the number of reviews on a certain roundup site I like to visit.
As we kick off this adventure we’re being introduced to our characters through a little Dungeons and Dragons type action game. Kids this age playing any game will quickly lead to them getting in a little back and forth argument, this one specifically centered on what they will call these characters. It’s a clever sequence because for the most part our four players Pat, Daniel, Paige, and Walter’s traits come through in these D & D creations they’re acting with. Daniel wants to call his character Crotch the Sticky, son of Groin the Moist and he derails everything by starting an argument and spilling orange pop everywhere on the table.
I got a real kind of Goonies vibe at this point based on the language and interactions of the kids which isn’t a bad thing at all and keeps all interactions fresh. And YES god dammit, I call it pop, I will never call it soda, I’m not from 1884 and going to the diner with a nickel here people. Anyways let's get back on track. (Jim's Note: Hey, Eric calls it "pop" and I shake my head every single time!)
The kids are interrupted by a knock at the door, which they answer, and we get introduced to a second set of people this time adults Hayes, Vernon, Silk, and Skinhead Mike. These look to be our “bad guys” of the story with the dead giveaways one is smoking, one is tall and awkward, one has a scar from a slit throat, and one has a Nazi tattoo on his face. This is not the kind of riff-raff anybody expects to show up on their front porch in the middle of the day. These intimidating fellas barge into the house and Paige (a quick witted little girl) quickly gets on the offensive and becomes mouthy with these unwanted visitors blocking their way.
Silk, the guy with the scar on his throat, decides the best course of action is to pop Paige in the nose but justice gets served quickly. Daniel, the boy who wanted to name his character after the human anatomy earlier, fires a toy ogre at Silks eye doling out a direct hit. Silk goes down like the douchebag he is and it looks like we have a good old fashioned stand-off between the Kids and the Adults. As the tension builds dear old Dad comes busting into the room with a shotgun and chases the intruders away.
We cut to see the kids at school the next day interacting with a group of bullies outside. Paige again refuses to back down before our villains from the previous day interrupt everything again. Surprisingly they chase the bullies off this time only to then offer Paige a ride home basically for being asshats, punching her, and barging in her house. After a lot of convincing Paige agrees to ride with them but only if her friends can come too and everyone crams into the car like and things do not look comfortable.
We’re treated to some great visual gags by Tyler Boss throughout the book especially here as everyone finds their place in the car. Then some more great back and forth occurs between the group of kids and adults on the ride home before the kids are safely dropped off. As the car rides off and the kids run into Paige’s dad they find him extremely pissed about his daughter’s bad choice. He tells her she’s grounded for the next several years and asks for her friends to scram.
We end our story as the kids are sneaking around town the next day trying to find these bad guys and determine what the hell is really going on with them and why they keep showing up wherever they are. A funny little stakeout scene leads the group to a diner (that sells pop and not soda) and as they peak in they see our four “bad guys”, that have taken an interest in them, sitting with Paige’s dad chatting it up like old chums enjoying burgers. And that’s how we end our issue.
This was not what I expected at all from Four Kids Walk Into A Bank going in and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. Although the issue was entirely setup and basically just introduced the reader to the characters and their personalities you will be seeing throughout the story the dialogue and back and forth between everyone was humorous, witty, and sharp.
Bits and Pieces:
Credit goes to Rosenberg who makes it feel like The Goonies meets Oceans 11 mishmash. This is two vastly different properties that should not flow together the way they do but execution is just stellar. Tyler Boss on art/color duties gives the adventure an 80’s type feel with subdued colors and a throwback look which I’m a huge fan of when done correctly like this. I thoroughly enjoyed all the jokes present throughout the title and look forward to coming back to this group of foul mouth kids with a no quit attitude as soon as Black Mask Studios gives me more.