I consider myself a reasonably intelligent, well educated, well read person. Ever since I was a small boy, I’ve been able to pick up any comic and follow along. Oh, I may not get every little detail, but I’m very rarely completely lost. It just doesn’t happen. Or, so I thought, until I read “Bang! Tango” #4. It is an utter mess of a comic with no redeemable quality that I can find.
Now, I’m the first to admit that maybe I’m to fault having not read the first three issues of this mini-series, but I didn’t understand much of anything in this book. And I don’t think that was on purpose. Sure, some books try to be difficult to understand, full of impressionist symbolism and obtuse philosophic ideas, but this is a comic about mobsters and tango dancing. Does that sound like a hard concept to get?
So, forgive me as I try to piece together what I can from this issue. Vin is a great tango dancer who is wanted dead by many people for reasons not explained. He is in a tango competition with a woman for reasons not explained. This woman also needs to hide for reasons not explained. Vin is in some sort of unexplained scheme with a possible transwoman who happens to be marrying the son of some big time gangster who wants Vin dead. The possible transwoman is also known to the tango dancing woman and shows up at the competition for reasons not explained. The upcoming wedding may be connected to the aforementioned unexplained scheme, but that’s not really explained either.
Oh, and Vin is drugged at some point in this issue, but when isn’t exactly clear. It seems like it happens at a club later in the issue, but images of various pills keep intruding upon scenes up until that point, so was it before?
“But, hey, Chad, man... you said there wasn’t a single redeemable quality to this comic, but that can’t be true. Surely the art must have some good elements or maybe some pieces of dialogue?” I’m sorry, hypothetical reader, but that’s not the case. One instance of mind-numbing piss-poor dialogue comes with the fat gangster’s explanation of what a big, bad, mean man he is involving the raping of his nanny as a young man with “a sharpened piece of stainless steel” that is nothing but a lame, clichéd attempt at establishing a character without any original thought or actual sense of terror.
As for the art, Adrian Sibar’s page compositions are messy, packed with unnecessary details, and are boring. The characters lifeless and static, except when their features shift and morph from panel to panel. The coloring doesn’t help with a drab yet heavy-handed palate that uses every computer effect available to not accomplish what simple common sense coloring used to get done monthly.
Actually, there is one redeemable thing about this comic: Howard Chaykin’s cover. Give it a look and then move on, I say. “Bang! Tango” #4 has set the standard for “worst comic book of 2009.” Needless to say, I won’t be picking up issue five.