Review - Finger Guns #1 (@thevaultcomics)

"You know that's not going to change anything."

There's a point in everyone's life where they feel that no matter what they do, things aren't going to work out in their favor. In the case of teenagers in Finger Guns #1 from Vault Comics, that point is seemingly every day. The issue is written by Justin Richards, illustrated by Val Halvorson, colored by Rebecca Nalty and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

Two troubled teenagers discover they can manipulate emotions by firing finger guns. There will be laughs. There will be tears. There will be uncomfortable teen feelings and angst. Oh yeah... and chaos. So much chaos.

Richards knows (seemingly all too well) how hard life as a teenager can be and both Wes and Sadie are shining examples of difficult home lives that encourage delusions of grandeur. The premise of the title is centered around finding an escape from the day-to-day for the two lead characters; a premise encapsulated perfectly on the first page and then cemented later in the issue. Richards gives Wes and Sadie and out of sorts in their "finger guns" which serve as a physical manifestation of their desire to be able to effect change on a very basic level. What's particularly jarring about the book is how much Richards infuses the characters with a sense of loneliness that's all too recognizable for many. There's an additional comfort for both of the main characters in each other and their complementing powers, with Richards setting the two of them up as counterbalancing forces that unite to form something greater.

Showcasing the roller coaster that is teenage emotion is Halvorson's artwork which is emphatic in its delivery. Everything is drawn with heavy, black lines that visually weighs the artwork down in a way that seems to be a literal presentation of the emotions shared by the characters. Despite the density of emotion throughout, Halvorson still gives the characters a sense of optimism in the form of expressive faces and body language that seems to offer a way out for the characters. Halvorson largely keeps the panels arranged relatively neatly, save for a few instances where she crosses borders to deliver a more striking visual depending on the situation. Nalty's colors are very rich and slightly off-kilter in terms of being realistic, providing a sense of otherworldliness to the action.

Buried deep within Finger Guns #1 is a treasure trove of teenage angst. Wes and Sadie are two teenagers struggling to find something solid as an anchor point in their life, learning that the other is like them in certain ways that provides some measure of solace. Richards' script is simple enough in its dialogue, yet there's an abundance of deeper meaning to be found in the conversations between Wes and Sadie. Halvorson's artwork is an admirable take on their plights as teenagers, effortlessly capturing their struggle. Finger Guns #1 poses quite the existential questions about being able to create change and how it can provide some sense of relief to those who think they have no control over their own lives.

Finger Guns #1 is available February 26.