Comic Book Review: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #5
After some delays, Black Mask’s “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” returns for its final issue. Tyler Boss, Matthew Rosenberg and Thomas Mauer give us one hell of an ending that is all at once funny, violent and tragic. “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” #5, despite the wait, completely sticks the landing and since reading it, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
“4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” #5 picks up with Paige, Walter, Berger and Stretch making their final preparations to actually rob the bank. That’s right, the 4 kids actually walk into the bank in this issue. What follows is not the most ideal situation for these kids and things take a turn that highlights just how over their heads these kids are.
One of the things I really liked about this finale and the series as a whole is that it kind of took me back to reading books like “Goosebumps”, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and the “Harry Potter” series. These books put kids in very dire situations but didn’t dumb down its leads who were usually tweens and early teens. These books found that sweet spot where kids sounded like kids, reacted like kids and because of that, the turns the plot took would often reflect that youth of the leads. That’s what “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” does in this finale. Had these been adults, we would have had a completely different ending and it would have been a completely different reading experience.
“4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” #5 is full of a lot of action as it moves quickly but what isn’t missing is the dark humor that’s been in the series from the beginning. There are some incredibly funny moments in here but it never feels out of place as the story barrels into its final pages. As a final issue, “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” #5 delivers closure. There are no questions left to be had here as this team delivers everything to you on a silver platter in their own personal way. This was a story that looked at kids forced into the world of adults but found moments to keep things lighter. A lot of that dark humor works because of Tyler Boss does on art and colors.
Tyler Boss is really, for me, the selling point of “4 Kids Walk Into A Bank”. Boss’ work here always reminded me of what David Aja did with “Hawkeye” but I think there’s a lot more attitude and less control in what Boss does. Boss uses the layouts to his advantage and focuses right in on these characters. There is a 24 grid layout with Paige and Captain Gloryhole that is planned out so well. Each panel is a completely different expression and without the dialogue, you could figure out the tone of this conversation very well. More importantly, it works as a great physical study of Paige and how she’s really become more unhinged yet more determined since the first issue. Boss has this ability to capture the youthful nature of this kids while still making the violence pretty believable. When you factor in his color work, I’m reminded of the films of Wes Anderson. These colors make the setting, the actual town, the clothing all nostalgic without relying on heavy handed references. The heavy use of darker yellows for the later outdoor scenes reflect the sun setting on the story and really on the childhoods of these kids. It’s such a visually light comic book without taking away from the darker themes and I find that very interesting.
“4 Kids Walk Into A Bank” took time to finally get in our hands as a completed work but it was worth the wait. This is a story that won’t be easily forgotten because of how unique it truly was.