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King #1 Review

5 min read

King Issue 1 CoverKarate robot bear. It’s always the karate robot bear.

Creative Staff:
Story: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Art: Bernard Chang

What They Say:
King just wants what anybody wants: not to get fired, eaten, or forced to mate with a cheetah lady. For Earth’s sole human survivor after the apocalypse, life among Los Angeles’ strange, new populace ain’t easy. Working for the LA Department of Reclamation, King gets a lot of crappy jobs going on quests and searching for artifacts from the “old world,” which can range from the mythical (Excalibur!) to the absurd (an iPod shuffle–which, let’s be honest, was a terrible, terrible invention). The commute can be a real pain in the asphalt, too; the 405 freeway is filled with mutants, monsters, mayhem and tentacled Elder Gods. And that’s all before you hit the horrors of the San Fernando Valley. As the world’s freakish inhabitants battle for supremacy, King searches for the “seed of life,” which may give Earth the second chance it probably doesn’t even deserve.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having read some of Fialkov’s works over the years, I was definitely curious to see what he’d do with a new miniseries from the folks at Jet City Comics. Pairing him together with Bernard Chang is a big plus as well as I’ve long liked his art style, and even more so now with Marcel Maiolo’s colors applied to it. With this new series, of which is planned for five issues, we get something that definitely takes a couple of readings to really get into the groove of because of how it tries to establish itself. There’s this need to provide that cool hook first rather than some foundational aspects, and while that typically works well enough for a movie or even a TV series, I always find it a bit harder with comics because the good stuff invariably hits with the second issue and that requires some really strong hook material to get you to come back.

The premise is one that certainly draws you in and has you wanting to know more about it as we get a seemingly slightly near future/present day kind of book where everything has changed dramatically, but we can connect with the quirks. In a sense, the world ended and all of mankind has been wiped away save one young man that resides in Los Angeles known as King. King’s got a kind of mild surfer dude modern day feeling about him that’s engaging enough but it also plays him in a way that you really know what kind of person he is. When the book introduces us to him with his first spoken words being that he hates Monday’s, you know the kind of humor and approach that it’s going to hit. Within this new world, King’s the one that does all these kinds of odd jobs for the newest inhabitants of the world, which is made up of all kinds of demons and other creatures that are sort of kind of living in the place of humanity. Or at least some of them are as others are just plain monsters that want to devour anything that they can.

Within this world we get to see the weird kinds of combinations that are here, such as the bifrost of sorts that runs through part of the city and the gods that are covered in demonic starfish controlling them to biker gangs with things that look like human/warthog hybrids. Much of what we get is King’s journey through this landscape before he arrives at “work” where it’s kind of a police station of sorts. What King does is go on these missions for them to find the Seeds of Life, which are key to helping to restart the world “because god wants us to all live in harmony” or some BS as his boss puts it. It’s a mild piece to get the journey going but the real treat is just in soaking up the actual environment. It’s so chaotic and all over the place that it really feels like Chang just got to do whatever he wanted and found a great kind of splattery cohesiveness about it to bring it all together.

In Summary:
The opening installment here is one that serves more as travelogue than anything else in a sense but it does it well to give us a feel for the kind of diverse and crazy world that exists. There’s some light touches on what happened and my craving for some real backstory is always a problem with me so that makes part of this book difficult. King as a character sets his tone well but doesn’t give us much to chew on with who he is outside of a few light references. It’s a crap job he has but he’s the only one to do it in this world where everything has just gone in a terrible direction. I’m not sure what t make of the story yet because there isn’t too much of one here yet outside of “find the life seed” that he starts off on. But what helps to make it quite enjoyable beyond that is the artwork from Bernard Chang. There’s just such a sense of freedom about it and incredible detail that’s enhanced by the coloring job done that you just want to pore over the book for that alone.

Grade: B

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Jet City Comix via ComiXology
Release Date: August 19th, 2015
MSRP: $2.99