Friday, December 23, 2022

#IReadsYou Review: KILLADELPHIA #20


STORY: Rodney Barnes
ART: Jason Shawn Alexander with Germán Erramouspe, Sherard Jackson, Nicole Palmquist
COLORS: Luis Nct
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon
EDITOR: Greg Tumbarello
COVER: Jason Shawn Alexander
28pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (March 2022)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Killadelphia and Elysium Gardens created by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander

“The End of All” Part II: “The Decision”

Killadelphia is an apocalyptic vampire and dark fantasy comic book series from writer Rodney Barnes and artist Jason Shawn Alexander and is published by Image Comics.  At the center of this series is a police officer caught in a lurid conspiracy in which vampires attempt to rule Philadelphia, “the City of Brotherly Love.”  Colorist Luis Nct and letterer Marshall Dillon complete Killadelphia's creative team.

Killadelphia focuses on James “Jim” Sangster, Jr. and his father, revered Philadelphia homicide detective, James Sangster, Sr., thought to be dead.  He is actually a vampire.  Now father and son lead a ragtag team comprised of a medical examiner, a dead president, and a rebellious, but special young vampire (Tevin Thompkins a.k.a. “See Saw”) in a bid to save Philly from an ambitious and murderous former First Lady, Abigail Adams.

As Killadelphia #20 (“The Decision”) opens, the rebellious and very special young vampire, Tevin Thompkins a.k.a. “See Saw,” finds himself at a crossroads … of sorts.  George Washington – yes, that one – wants to have a meeting of the minds with him.  That means the “Father of Our Nation” has a (back) story to tell.  Hope it does not put See Saw to sleep, but he better listen.  This undead president has some illuminating allies.

Abigail Adams and her lot plot against her husband, former President John Adams, and his forces, which are now aligned with the Sangsters and their allies.  Where will the former First Lady go to find an equalizer?

And are Zubiya and her werewolf pack and Tituba, the witch of Stregheria, really allies?  And if so, how far are they willing to go?

THE LOWDOWN:  Killadelphia's fourth story arc, “The End of All,” has just begun, and it is outta sight! already.  It is being described as a turning point in the series, and Killadelphia #20 is indeed filled with a lot of big things and big reveals.

While Rodney Barnes was writing beautiful comic books like Killadelphia and Nita Hawes' Nightmare Blog, he was also co-writing (and acting in) an entire damn event television series for HBO (“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”).  One could never tell, though.  Killadelphia feels like the work of someone exercising his insane imagine over the hot stove of this narrative, with a simmering pot on each burner – and focusing on nothing else.

As he has for a couple of years now, artist and co-creator, Jason Shawn Alexander, turns Barnes' brilliant script into the most intense and invigorating dark horror comic book art and graphical storytelling that I have experienced in a long time.  The crazy thing about Alexander's amazing work is that, at least to me, every issue looks different, and, even more so, seems different.  It is as if Killadelphia takes place in a thousand dreaming cities, and Alexander will show us every version of this dream – even if his drawing hand falls off.  He even takes time to give us a George Washington that looks like “New Romantics”/pop era David Bowie.  How about that for an immortal makeover?

So take a trip to Killadelphia.  The good stuff … and other things are waiting for you.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of vampire comic books and of exceptional dark fantasy will want Killadelphia.


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

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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