While the big publishers have the resources and clout to make their comics on a regular monthly fare, small press is not quite as fortunate as their limitations force them to take a more ‘as and when’ sales plan. However, Indie powerhouses Big Punch Studios continue to fly in the face of the big guns with the fifth installment of it’s quarterly comic magazine BPM. Will this quality quartet (and their friends) continue to land the knockout or will their second year start with them hitting themselves in failure?
Publisher: Big Punch Studios
Writer: Jon Lock, Alice White, Lucy Brown
Artist: Nich Angell, Verity Glass, James Stayte, Mike Bunt(Inker), Capucine Drapala(Colorist), Lucy Brown (Letterer)
Price: £5.00 from the Big Punch Studios Store
Our rating: [star rating=”4″]
BPM #5 continues the format of the magazine’s prior instalments with multiple parts of several ongoing stories. This issue sees the Reflektor crew from Cuckoos stranded in an unknown universe trying to repair their ship after the deal from last time went wrong while Paragon Four continues with her machinations and finding Anna in the future world thriller of Orb. Also, Elsie and Tyler (and Man Sword) keep with the sword hunting, as they board a train on the trail of a fellow sword hunter in 99 swords and, finally, a new Cat and Meringue adventure hits the back pages as the disastrous duo take a time travel adventure to ancient Egypt, where they encounter King Tut and some familiar looking landmarks.
Much like its premiere issue a year before, the Big Punch Magazine continues to be really enjoyable, a bright comic which is full of excitement and intrigue. Primary writer Jon Lock continues to write deftly in many formats, from the swashbuckling, Serenity-esque action of Cuckoos, to the dystopian, intrigue of Orb and the crazy, almost buddy cop movie take of 99 Swords. He shows real skill in not only differentiating his world building, but also building many varied characters to match each. Of course, Lock isn’t a one man show here and the humour in the book is helped by co-writers Lucy Brown and Allie White and their work on 99 Swords and Cat and Meringue respectively. In fact, Cat & Meringue is the standout part of the book due to it’s absurd humour remaining consistent with White and Angell’s original comic strip.
Speaking of Nich Angell, his art continues to be punched (pardon the pun) out at it’s magestic, dreamlike best. However, the addition of inker Mike Bunt and colorist Capucine Drapala on Cuckoos helps elevate it and give it a more action-packed vibe, similar to that of The Last Sherriff. This is no better seen than in a fight panel of a DarkHawk looking character. Of course, Nich isn’t the only talent on the art side as James Stayte does a solid job giving 99 Swords a humorous feel to the match its story and Verity Glass, the standout on the art side, whose style is really clean and futuristic and really meshes with the world Orb has become, if not the darkness of the story. This is no better shown than during the explosive splash page early in the story, which really looks incredible. In fact, if there is one quibble with this book it is that all the tales require the prior issues and so make it a difficult entry for new readers.