Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1
Writer: David Barnett
Artist: Martin Simmonds
Feargal Ferguson, also known as Fergie, is a fifteen-year-old teenager that didn’t have many friends until one day he started talking to a ghost of a deceased punk rock band, Sid, to which apparently he’s stuck together. After dealing with bullies, magical ‘bombs’, the boys are headed to London with the police on their backs. This is the plot of IDW’s new Punks Not Dead: London Calling which took off in a quite promising way, with eccentric writing and gorgeous artwork.
This first issue picks up with Sid and Fergie on their way to London in search for Fergie’s father, hoping he can shed some light on the boy’s sudden magical powers. We get an introduction in plain text explaining the whole situation to the reader, recalling the events from the first volume. We also get to know about Fergie’s mom, Julie, and Natalie, Fergie’s not-a-girlfriend, as they help each other to cope with what’s been happening. Agent Asif of the Department of Extra-Usual Affairs and the amazing douche Agent Culeppeper are also present in this miniseries. Yet another familiar face is the serial killer known only as Bobby who promised to help Fergie through the supernatural forum but clearly intends to hurt the boy. The new characters for this title appear to be yet another group of people interested in Fergie’s abilities.
The writing for this first chapter feels rushed on a first read, since pretty much happened in Punks Not Dead’s volume #1. If you choose to skip over the text introduction mentioned above you can get a grasp of what has already happened and why the main characters find themselves in London through dialogues. However, upon a second read, it’s possible to realize why David Barnett chose this approach.
For this first chapter, we are introduced to every element we need to know to get interested in the story without exception. Barnett reports the past events in a very fluid manner, mixing those facts naturally in conversations of various scenes, never once feeling like forced exposition making the read friendly for a first-time reader. Plus, Barnett managed to structure every page in its own singular grid type, utilizing of the storytelling tools the comic book media offers, in a masterful way.
The book is spectacularly illustrated by Simmonds. The backgrounds change from scene to scene, looking steady with firm and strong lines in scenes without any mystical elements involved, and appearing as sketches with loose lines and a different glow when the scene displays a magical manifestation or ritual. Each character has a unique design to them making it possible for the reader to pick up who is who quickly. My favorite element of the artwork, however, was the coloring. The regular elements of day-to-day life look opaque and bland, which makes every single magical element stand out since these are presented in neon tones of purple, green and blue, giving it all a heavier impact than on the first volume in which things just happened without much charm to them.
The great writing, gorgeous penciling, and breathtaking coloring are to show just how good the second part of Fergie and Sid’s story can come to be. This being the first chapter we already get beautiful pages of ‘exorcism’ and other mystical manifestations.
The great writing, gorgeous penciling and breathtaking coloring are to show just how good this book can come to be. The story is just starting and we already get beautiful pages of 'exorcism' and other mystical manifestations.