This week’s lead review for Wednesday Comics is KILLADELPHIA #25, which marks the start of a new story arc. In addition, the Wednesday Comics Team has a rundown of the new #1s and finales from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!

KIlladelphia #25Killadelphia #25

Writer: Rodney Barnes
Layouts: Jason Shawn Alexander
Pencils: Germán Erramouspe
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Image Comics

Killadelphia has been one of the most consistently impressive series currently on the stands, a run that started on a high and has rarely let up on its horror or its commentary on the predatory nature of America’s racial politics. I use the word predatory with intention here. Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander have crafted a tale that looks at vampirism as a unique consequence of the country’s history with slavery and discriminatory urban development, a process that fits the aforementioned word like a glove.

Killadelphia #25 is the beginning of a new arc that looks to raise the stakes (no pun intended) on the war between the many kinds of creatures and gods that are threatening to put an end to humanity as we know it. While I recommend rereading the issues leading up to this one, but issue #25 gives a very streamlined and concise recap of events that’s led to the war the story’s currently focused on.

The demon Corson and the god Anansi open the story with a dialogue on the necessity of the war that puts humanity’s existence on the brink of extinction. It acts as a kind of ‘State of the Union’ exchange in which Anansi argues that humans are essential for the survival of gods and demons given their status as subjects that they can influence, thus justifying their supernatural posts, while Corson offers a scathing rebuttal that frames the war as a tragic inevitability.

Barnes’ scripting is carefully balanced in both pacing and tone, coming off as both poetic and modern to capture the city of Philadelphia’s culture along with the classic horror vibes vampire stories are known for. A few surprises await readers this issue and they hit hard thanks to Barnes’ deliberate approach to pacing.

This new arc sees Jason Shawn Alexander step back as penciller, sticking to layouts this time around. Argentinian artist Germán Erramouspe takes over art duties along with colorist Lee Loughridge, a pairing with more than a few surprises up its sleeve. 

At first I was afraid of the change. Shawn Alexander’s multilayered and highly textured illustrations are an integral part of Killadelphia’s identity, especially on the horror side of things (Killadelphia’s vampires are among some of the most visceral and vicious in comics and it’s owed to Shawn Alexander’s designs). Erramouspe dispels any doubts rather quick, though. His character work is of particular note, most notably in terms of facial expressions. Characters project drama, terror, frightfulness, and cruelty through intricate and nuanced face work that contains volumes of story in expressions both subtle and overt.

Loughridge’s colors stick close to Luis NCT’s in the previous arcs when it comes to palette, but the action is a smidge brighter. It paints the story in a way that evokes the visual sensibilities of 1970’s exploitation cinema. Both Erramouspe and Loughridge seem to be invested in keeping the look and feel of this new arc very much within the confines of what Barnes and Shawn Alexander have already established leading up to this point, but they add enough to become part of the Killadelphia experience on their own merit.

Killadelphia #25 puts its characters in position for big and violent changes. Founding Fathers, African gods and demons, and historically oppressed vampires all find themselves embroiled in a fight for the soul of America itself, whether they like it or not. The best horror comic on the stands right now has been methodically revealing the horror story that American history truly is. This new arc is ready to show just how much darkness still resides within it.


Ricardo Serrano Denis

Wednesday Comics Quick Hits

  • Absolution #5 (AWA Upshot): This finale issue, like the rest of Absolution, has a couple of things going on. On its surface, it’s a high-stakes story about a famous assassin (who does her work on livestream) fighting truly despicable people as the viewing public weighs in on her methods. There are gun fights and tension and a other big set pieces. Underneath, though, it’s a meditation on social media validation, the way it manipulates our behavoirs, and the sorts of things those platforms are designed to reward and encourage. More importantly, though, this finale really sticks the landing, meaning that when the time comes, you’ll definitely want to grab this one in trade if you didn’t already read it in single issues. Absolution is by writer Peter Milligan, artist Mike Deodato Jr., colorist Lee Loughridge, and letterer Steve Wands. (Zack Quaintance)
  • Bob Phantom #1 (Archie Comics): Bob Phantom by James III, Richard Ortiz, and Juan Bobillo, is a revival of one of Archie’s oldest superhero characters. A down-on-his-luck journalist with an overactive imagination gets in over his head in this revamped origin story. Though it has big designs of commenting on the state of the news media, this twist on conventional superhero stories doesn’t quite achieve its loftiest of ambitions. There are a lot of compelling ideas in this surreal noir one-shot that feels fresh, but with some inconsistent art and lack of resolution, the story feels frustratingly incomplete. The book is not without its charms but would benefit from more room to flesh out its story. Hopefully, there will be more for James III to untangle the promise of this book’s premise in a satisfying fashion, because the ingredients are certainly there. Worth a read if you are looking for something that uses the superhero genre in creative ways. (Tim Rooney)
  • Cat-Man and Kitten #1 (Dynamite Comics): Once upon a time, superheroes had youthful sidekicks. Not good little soldiers for trench warfare against crime, but kids who just came along to help. Kids left homeless in the wake of the Great Depression, a second World War, or who found a foster parent, a hero to adopt them, who happened to also be a masked superhero. That’s the pairing and sort of story this stand-alone Cat-Man and Kitten tale presents. There’s light expansion of their cat-based powers, as well as the ongoing Dynamite storyline that a feral feline spirit resides within private eye David Merrywether. It’s a globe-hopping adventure in exotic locations teaming our heroes with fellow mystery men, gently sanitized from the kinds of pre-Code stories that launched these characters eight decades ago. If you’re a fan of series like All-Star Squadron, Agents of Atlas, and Project Superpowers, this title from writer Jeff Parker, artist Joseph Cooper, colorist Arancia Studio, and letterer Jeff Eckleberry is made-to-order. (Clyde Hall)
  • Godzilla Rivals Vs. Gigan #1 (IDW Publishing): It’s October, it’s 2008, and two adult siblings get on each other’s nerves during an evacuation warning in Seattle. Godzilla has been summoned to fight Gigan, who threatens the city! There’s an evil games corporation, a sinister villain’s broadcast, and a master plan to take down the king of monsters himself, Godzilla. But at the heart of the story in this week’s Godzilla Rivals Vs. Gigan #1, there’s an examination of loss and what it means to grow past it, together. Is it a classic big-monsters-just-off-the-shore story? Yeah. But the relationships bring a human element too and the human element is the most important part. Godzilla Rivals vs. Gigan is a one-shot that surprised me. I would recommend checking it out. You can pick up a copy now, from IDW, written by Keith Davidsen with art by SidVenBlu, colors by Valentina Pinot, and design and letters by Nathan Widick. (Michael Kurt)
  • Koschei In Hell #1 (Dark Horse Comics): Writer Mike Mignola, artist Ben Stenbeck, and colorist Dave Stewart revisit the story of Koshchei after 2018’s Koshchei the Deathless. The story sees a quality consistent with the previous series; Stenbeck and Stewart play with creeping shadows and moody colors in the stunning and haunting landscape of Hell. Mignola still manages to keep the introduction to Koshchei in Hell accessible, organically giving any new readers all the information they need while building intrigue around the continuing story of this flawed and reluctant protagonist; though I would definitely recommend at least reading Koshchei the Deathless. Clem Robins’ letters move the eye through the pages masterfully, sometimes connecting directly between panels, maintaining a natural sense of conversational back and forth and then the story goes silent, brimming with potential for its continuation. (Khalid Johnson)
  • My Bad, Vol. 2, #1 (AHOY Comics): Now on its second volume, My Bad remains (in my opinion) one of the funniest parody takes on superhero comics. It’s almost tough to describe the humor in this book. It’s definitely recognizable as a superhero parody, which is something that’s been done so frequently over the years, but it also feels novel to me, as if it’s skewing superhero books in a slightly tweaked way. Maybe it’s a layer of forward-looking satire, or maybe the team of writers Mark Russell and Bryce Ingram are just working hard to push past the obvious in order to find smarter bits, centered mostly on their hilariously terrible main characters. Whatever the case, now starting its second volume, My Bad continues to be a must-read comic. Teaming here with Russell and Ingram are artists Peter Krause and Joe Orsak; colorists Kelly Fitzpatrick and Paul Little; and letterer Rob Steen. (Zack Quaintance)
  • Plush #1 (Image Comics): Fans of writer Doug Wagner’s and artist Daniel Hillyard’s existing body of horror miniseries work will find the premiere issue of Plush worthy of sitting up there with Plastic and Vinyl. This book has a terrifying, weird plot that envelops main character Devin Fulcher as snugly as the fursuit he uneasily wears to his first furry convention. With bright and lively colors from Rico Renzi working in sync with Hillyard’s art, the series delivers on its solicit, which promised an interesting “neon-horror” story. The lettering from Ed Dukeshire is worth highlighting for its strength, drawing the eye in a fluid way that compliments the art it is paired with as the story progresses. The overarching mystery of what is going on with this murderous band of furries — and the horror behind what the answer could be — has me writing something unexpected: I think I need to know more about what these furries are up to, and what they’re all about. (Bryan Reheil)
  • Star Wars: High Republic Adventures Vol. 2, #1 (Dark Horse Comics): Phase II of The High Republic publishing initiative is now in full swing as writer Daniel Jose Older returns to relaunch the second volume of the YA series, Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, now published under Dark Horse. Joining Older in this return to the unexplored, story-rich era as told through the eyes of engaging young protagonists are artist Toni Bruno, colorist Michael Atiyeh, and letterers Tyler Smith and Jimmy Betancourt. Together, the team crafts a fun and energetic introductory issue delivering much of what made the title shine when it was published previously at IDW, now with the focus on padawan Sav Malagán as she adventures 150 years prior to the first volume with Maz Kanata (plus some other familiar faces of the Star Wars universe, as well as a few new ones). With that in mind, this comic serves as an excellent jumping on point for anyone interested in the stories being told during The High Republic, while also rewarding readers who have made it their mission to read everything set during this era. (Bryan Reheil)

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