Tuesday, July 7, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: KILLADELPHIA #1

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Rodney Barnes
ART: Jason Shawn Alexander
COLORS: Luis Nct
LETTERS: Marshal1 Dillon
EDITOR: Greg Tumbarello
COVER: Jason Shawn Alexander with Luis Nct
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Francesco Mattina; Jason Shawn Alexander
32pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S.(November 2019)

Rated “M/ Mature”

“Sins of the Father” Part 1: “A Call to Arms”

Killadelphia is a new comic book series from writer Rodney Barnes (Lando: Double or Nothing for Marvel Comics) and artist Jason Shawn Alexander (Spawn for Todd McFarlane/Image Comics).  The series focuses on a police officer who falls into a lurid mystery set in the corrupt and vampire-ridden historical city of Philadelphia.  Colorist Luis Nct and letterer Marshall Dillon complete Killadelphia's creative team.

Killadelphia #1 (“A Call to Arms”) opens with James “Jim” Sangster, Jr. dealing with the death of his father, revered Philadelphia homicide detective, James Sangster, Sr.  Ten days earlier, Sangster, Sr. got a tip that took him to “Harvest Green Homes,” a low-income housing project that had its glory days in the 1970s.  Now, it's known as “Hell Hall,” and it is the place where Detective Sangster was murdered.

Jim hated his father, but he more or less stumbles into reading his father's journal.  What he finds makes him think that Sangster, Sr. was loosing his mind.  What Jim finds when he makes his own trip to Hell Hall will shake his beliefs to their core.

I once believed that if talented and accomplished African-American writers got the comic book writing opportunities that DC Comics' imprint, Vertigo Comics, gave to white writers, they would produce some incredible work.  Of course, I was right, and Image Comics is proving it by publishing Black writer-penned titles like Bingo Love, Bitter Root, Farmhand, and Jook Joint, to name a few.  Now comes Killadelphia from Rodney Barnes, who wrote the ambitious 2017-2018 Falcon comic book series for Marvel Comics.  [After an epidemic of white-devil fever swept through Marvel's management and editorial, Falcon was unceremoniously canceled.]

Killadelphia #1 is incredible.  What Barnes does with his first-issue script takes most other comic book writers five or six issues to do.  Barnes, who is also a television writer and producer, presents the personalities of both Sangster men, while detailing their contentious relationship and its history in startling detail.  Plus, he unveils quite a bit of Killadelphia's back story and mythology in a few pages.  Wait!  He also gives us some hot vampire action, y'all!  [I'd say that I got more than my money's worth, but Image Comics did send me a PDF review copy.]

Jason Shawn Alexander's graphical storytelling is long and strong.  Powerful graphics and page design strike out at the reader – the way they should in a vampire comic book.  Alexander creates a milieu that is perfect for both horror fiction and for a contemporary tale of public corruption in a rotten metropolis.

Luis Nct's coloring is fantastic; it seems that every page suggests a different mood, which plays up Killadelphia's devious atmosphere and gritty and surreal ambiance.  Marshall Dillon's lettering also changes, moving and shifting with the narrative, conveying the notion that this story wants to sink its... something into you.

Killadelphia #1 can't stop, won't stop.  It is proof that comic books can do what movies like Us and Queen & Slim are doing for film – showcase the creativity of potent new or different storytelling voices.

10 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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