Finger Guns #1 comes from writer Justin Richards, artist Val Halvorson, colorist Rebecca Nalty, letterer Taylor Esposito and is published through Vault Comics. Since the announcement of this series, I have been absolutely excited about it. My basic understanding of the story was that it was about children who could change people’s emotions by shooting a finger gun at them. While this may be an aspect of the story, what I encountered was a book that was so wholly original and touching,
In the first issue, we are introduced to our teen main character, Wes, at the end of his school day. With a simple red hoodie and headphones resting on his neck, we are tuned into how bored our main character. School gets out and on our characters way home, he bumps into a purple-jacket wearing girl. For the first time in this book, the panel background changes from red to solid lime green, visually cueing us into the importance of her character.
From there, we witness our protagonist making his way home and to the mall. This is where the seeds of musicality and emotional depth are planted. Halvorson’s character design for our lead male features him consistently wearing headphones, listening to music. In the background of a panel where our main character, Wes, sits is a photo of a woman playing guitar. Alongside this, there is another picture featuring a guitar. While this occurs, we visually see Wes upset over the fact that his father is not home, yet again and has left pizza money. Between Volhorson’s art and Richard’s script delivered through Esposito’s stylish lettering, the emotional weight hangs heavy in the pages. The feeling of longing for a parent who is never home weeps off of Wes. The sense of not belonging and not wanting to be alone is evident. Wes’ need to drown the world out with his music, as depicted through Halvorson’s drawing him with his headphones on, speaks heavy to my angst-filled days of listening to new-wave as a teen. I love the subtle nod to the Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light” album drawn into a panel.
Even with its mature themes, the coloring of the book sets up an interesting atmosphere. Nalty’s color scheme consists of purples, reds, and yellows. It makes the book feel hopeful, rustic, nostalgic, and innovative. It breathes life to Halvorson’s pencils and sets up your heart for when Wes meets up with the girl he bumped into earlier. It is here where Esposito’s lettering expertly guides us through their conversations from the established tone created by the rest of the team. Easy to read with fun flashes of colors when they do a finger guns exercise. That being said, it is, also quick to read due to Richards’s concise script. Richards clues readers into more familial drama amongst characters that are all too relatable. Inner thoughts, action sequences, dialogue, and yelling are all lettered in a distinctly different way makes it stick out from Nalty’s brightly colored panels.
It is this type of care that continuously unfolds throughout the rest of Finger Guns #1. The themes of family drama, emotional manipulation, compassion, and teenage confusion are riddled throughout the book. Finger Guns #1 has swept its way into my heart. It is a smart and heart-filled look into the emotional cravings and needs of teens. Reminding me of my youth and my personal refuge in music, much like protagonist Wes, I can be sure that most people will find this story relatable. Halvorson’s expressive and cool art makes his mark as a stand-out comic book artist. Nalty’s fun colors and Esposito’s unique lettering further establishes how special this book is.
Finger Guns #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on February 26th, 2020.
Rating: 4.5/5 finger guns
Finger Guns #1
Finger Guns #1 has swept its way into my heart. It is a smart and heart-filled look into the emotional cravings and needs of teens. Reminding me of my youth and my personal refuge in music, much like protagonist Wes, I can be sure that most people will find this story relatable.