Rating if the Book Were a Movie: R
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Image Comics
2020 was a year unlike any that we’ve seen in quite some time. There were moments along the way that would have been the biggest events of the year that struggled to crack the top five. All of us had highs and lows. My big loss from 2020 was my father. He’s a big part of why I became the geek I am. He loved Star Wars as much, if not more than I did. We were so stoked to have tickets to the midnight showing of the Phantom Menace on opening night in our town. At 4 he introduced me to the animated version of Hobbit. He introduced me to comic books in the early 1980’s. It was a copy of “The Flash” #347. Most of what was taking place in that book was well over my head; but I remember loving the artwork.
He loved that I was writing about comics. If I couldn’t be a creator, at least I was in the game at some level. He thought it was so cool that I actually had writers periodically interacting with me on a personal level when it wasn’t at a con. Stories about talking to Randy Emberlin about Storm Shadow and Gail Simone about “Batgirl” respectively were neat, but it didn’t compare to taking the time to correspond, or do Zoom meetings like some people have done. The conversation about that was the last time I saw him where it was a two way conversation. I wish he was here to see some of the conversations I get to take part in with Indie Comix Dispatch.
Technically the first issue of “Killadelphia” came out in 2019. It was 2020 when it took the world by storm. The concept of a second Revolutionary War in the United States, this time between humans and vampires blew my mind as well as countless other readers. This was a story with teeth! And as the adage goes, the hits just keep on coming.
Issue #11 slows down and backs away from the blood and violence. For the fans of that, don’t worry, Jupiter is still on a rampage and dramatically reducing the life expectancy of anyone that can’t get out of his way fast enough. Jupiter and Juggernaut both start with “J-u”, beat the tar out anything that wants to fight them, and have three syllables. Coincidence?
The real theme of “Killadelphia” #11 seems to center around choices. We see Abigail Adams’ difficult decision between true love and happiness as opposed to pragmatic love and power from centuries ago. We see John Adams choosing to find a way to make amends for a plan that went horribly wrong. Most importantly we see John Sangster, Sr. choose to help his son and fight the good instead of going back to the afterlife to be with his wife.
Mr. Alexander’s artistic style was an acquired taste when I read the first issue of “Killadelphia”. I have since come to appreciate that the artwork doesn’t have to be elaborately detailed to be powerful. At this point I couldn’t imagine another artist being able to take his place with this title and come close to achieving the level of provocation that he achieves.
Mr. Barnes continues to surprise us with the change of pace. There are still references to the battle between humans and the undead as well as the the behind the scenes glimpses of camps for both sides The meat and potatoes of this issue is how much more depth to Abigail Adams we get.
A lot of this issue is done in a narrative. When we have dialogue it’s meaningful and has a purpose. Whether the purpose is to move the story along or give the reader more information it’s well written. I really enjoyed the conversation between the Sangster men. I found myself jealous of Sangster, Jr. He still has the ability to talk to his dad.
I know it’s banal; but it’s little things like having the background of the balloons for characters that are narrating done in different colors that go a long way towards making everything clear and understandable to a reader. I like that with this series there have never been any issues with being able to read the lettering.
This book was very easy to fall into. In some ways it reminds me of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Each issue has the primary story, but we get a peak at what life was like before with a different character in each book.
The attachment that the creative team develops between characters and readers is uncanny. I have found myself having horses in the race on both sides. These aren’t characters in a story, they are friends.
It’s easy to understand why “Killadelphia” is on the short list for “best new title in 2020” as well as “best title in 2020”.