The Banks offers one of the most layered and socially-charged heists I’ve had the privilege of reading. Roxane Gay has captivated us into a fantastic narrative that entangles aesthetics and ideology. We follow a plot with protagonist Celia, a successful investment banker who must reconcile with the matriarchal lineage of her mother and grandmother, who’ve made their means performing burglary, to ascertain a treasure trove from its protector, the person responsible for her grandfather’s death.
Despite her decision to follow a different career, Celia’s path resulted in the same tangential effect that her matriarchal counterparts have enacted towards our societal norms: both have managed to be gross exertions of power and intrusions upon people. However, in the Banks family, there was a held principle to steal from people who had infamously plundered their people. Gay manages to further this point with how integral the plot of the heist is towards the character progression by making the act itself a tender moment between these characters. What’s more impressive is the subtle, layered critique that can be found in regards to a comic industry.
At their best, heist plots are really always about the process of creating the artistic medium in which they’re expressed. In this, it makes the most fitting sense for the creative team to tackle the prejudice a person of color must face. Specifically, how the industry would look over both a POC and a woman in this modern age that has systematically been designed for the pristine white man. More so, it allows for us to see that this bias has existed not only since the 70s but its a generational haunt of modern American institutions. The best part of this is that the heist is really a means of a family striving to succeed in a world and society that constantly has dejected them. We witness this in the plot thread where a character attempt at ascertaining a job in 1968 along with her needing to deal with the absence of the patriarch.
Gay hit a home run here imbuing the nuances of race, gender, and classism in a simple and enthralling story. In truth, most stories with this much plot usually have little interest for people, but Gay is no sucker. Each piece she contributed has managed to layer and serve great purpose towards the characters, and all of this is captured within the first issue of this series. I am more than excited to see what she does with the rest of the series.
Now, the real question is how can we get some of that awesome merchandise (of course I mean the TKO Premium hoodie, etc) for us to review?! TKO Comics has offered a new and unique platform. If you’d like to pick up the first issue, you can get it for free through TKO’s website. Genuinely, this is a really exciting time for comics, and this is definitely a series you don’t want to miss.