Rudy Gobert is known the world over as a basketball player, yet unusually for an NBA star he’s French, so his youthful experience of comics is likely to have extended beyond superheroes. Even in Europe, though, sport-themed graphic novels are relatively rare.

Gobert works on Bash! with Hellef Bay, who presumably does much of the heavy lifting in transferring what seem Gobert’s authentic youthful experiences playing street basketball to a science-fiction story about the sport having conquered the galaxy. It means this is more than a celebrity just adding their name and likeness to someone else’s work. In the future basketball is referred to as ‘bash’, and has been modified to encompass alternative environments each quarter, which adversely affect players not clothed for extreme cold or heat.

The result is not far removed from the science fiction sport serials frequently seen in the early days of 2000AD, and like those stories, it turns out that the widely viewed final is prone to manipulation by vested interests. It’s overseen by Governor Valkyrion, who measures public interest in proceedings and uses attention being elsewhere to slip in a tax rise.

Bash! is drawn as exaggerated manga by Vince Serrano. It’s really unattractive. The sample art is a page widely circulated before publication with the art conveying the pace and energy of slamming a ball through a hoop, but also making it seem as if young Rudy’s broken his wrist in doing so. The health of players and the damage done by playing the game later becomes an issue, so it’s especially ill-advised.

After being treated to the final there’s a wild swerve into a different plot about Rudy’s destiny, his heritage and the person who has the information and can guide him forward, but crucially unaware that vested interests already have him marked as a target.

Perhaps Gobert’s fame and input will be enough to ensure commercial success for Bash!, but creatively it’s neither original or compelling. A cliffhanger ending leads into Bash! 2.