Brenda, aka “Killa-B”, is the most dangerous hacker in 1990’s San Francisco, needing only a Pentium II and a six-pack of Surge to crack the toughest d-base . . . or at least that’s how her self-narrated adventures go, keeping her sane while she works for a jerk at a city college computer lab. But when Brenda meets Mia, a beautiful master thief who’s been frozen for 30 years, they will join forces to pull off the heist of the century . . . the 20th century, that is.
Smooth Criminals is a new ongoing series from Boom Box, an imprint of Boom! Comics that delivers unorthodox, all-ages tales with playful stories and cartoonish art styles. Other titles from Boom Box include breakout book Lumberjanes (co-written by She-Ra and the Princesses of Power showrunner Noelle Stevenson), Giant Days (a spin-off of webcomic Scary Go Round by John Allison), and the magical adventure mini-series The Backstagers (by Batman scribe James Tynion IV). Boom Box titles are designed to challenge the status quo of typical comics fare, providing whimsy and heart in contrast to the steroid-infused punch-ups of most Big Two titles. According to Shannon Waters, the Senior Editor at Boom! who oversees the Boom Box imprint, “They are the kind of comics you want to read over a bowl of cereal on Saturday morning.”
As a light-hearted adventure story with a relatable protagonist, Smooth Criminals fits that bill perfectly. Writers Kurt Lustgarden and Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith previously wrote Boom Box’s Misfit City, a limited series that drew on ‘80s kid-centric action movies like The Goonies, where lovable “losers” become unlikely heroes. Criminals—drawn by Leisha Riddel (Goldie Vance) and colored by Brittany Peer (Misfit City, SLAM)—plays more like a mashup between The Matrix and Austin Powers, combining a techno-thriller with bombast and go-go boots. Brenda, while hoping vainly for a life of intrigue as a master hacker, accidentally revives jewel thief Mia Corsair from a 30-year cryogenic sleep, and becomes fascinated by this athletic, self-assured stranger in the “Nancy Sinatra boots”. Mia doesn’t know what the Internet is (or any other modern convenience), but she knows that she left one last heist un-pulled before her long nap and she’s willing to use Brenda’s computer magic to see it done.
Smooth Criminals begins as a breezy adventure series, propelled by Riddel’s cinematic, kinetic art style, and the first issue promises plenty of semi-legal hijinks to come. It remains to be seen if the story will take a darker and more conspiratorial turn, like some of the hacker films it emulates, but what would a hacker story be without a good conspiracy? Certainly not worthy of the leet skillz of Killa-B.
Check out the preview below and pick up Smooth Criminals #1 on Wednesday at your local comic shop, which you can find by going to comicshoplocator.com, or on comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.