Review: The Banks #1 (TKO Studios)

Continuing our focus on the brand new wave of titles from (relatively) new kids on the block TKO studios, this time we check out the first issue of crime caper The Banks, which tells the story of a family of all-female thieves as told by an all female team of superstar creators including Roxane Gay, Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire. Can The Banks follow on from TKO’s other titles and provide the publisher with another big score, or is this the series which will need to be put away?

Publisher: TKO Studios
Writer: Roxane Gay
Artist: Ming Doyle (Artist), Jordie Bellaire (Colorist), Ariana Maher
Price: £1.99 from ComiXology


The Banks tells the story of Clara, Cora and Celia, three female generations of the eponymous family. The Banks women are like every other family in America, except they also have a secret; they are a family of the best thieves in Chicago. However, when the job of a lifetime presents itself, straight arrow Celia finds herself drawn into the life as she joins her mother and grandmother in completing the job as well as dealing revenge for a past wrong.

Roxane Gay has produced an intriguing and compelling story within the pages of the Banks. While this first issue starts a little slow (after the initial opening scene), Gay seems to found a nice level pace for the story as it gradually ups the ante, setting the scene that the rest of the series will inhabit until the end when the readers are offered what will undoubtedly be the titles first payoff. Thankfully, this gentle entry into the world of the Banks works well as it nicely introduces us to the three generations of Banks women (although only two get a real focus) and giving us a story which feels very much like the Kitchen mixed with Hot Money. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect issue, story wise, as Celia’s abrupt change of heart on her initial decision seemed a little out of the blue. However, this may be better explained in future instalments and does very little to disrupt the Banks’ enjoyment.

Meanwhile, Ming Doyle’s artwork in this issue is most excellent, as she again shows (after her stellar work on the aforementioned Kitchen) that her style looks uniquely well suited to this genre of story. Doyle’s style maintains a good consistency throughout and works well for both the past and current era’s. However, the scenes do look subtly different thanks to Bellaire’s tremendous use of colours, even giving the past scenes a slight blaxploitation vibe to them. In fact, the only complaint to be had with the art is that so slight are the differences between the respective time periods looks that it is difficult to notice when time jumps if you aren’t paying attention.

The Banks is an intriguing comic which lures you into its caper with the promise, and delivery, of a great score in terms of entertaining story and gorgeous art. If you are a fan of Blaxploitation, heist movies or a little bit of both, Gay, Doyle, Bellaire and co. will have you covered with what will undoubtedly be an exciting tale that you won’t want to stop mid-story. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait long with TKO.