King #1 (of 5)
Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov
Artist: Bernard Chang
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Deron Bennett
Coming COMPLETELY out of left field this past week was King by Jet City Comics! Who is this publisher? Well it's the relatively new graphic novel/comics imprint of Amazon.com. Primarily producing digital content, we now see titles getting physically printed... which I love. This here book is written by Joshua Hale Fialkov, who has worked on Elk's Run (I podcasted about it... check it out), I Vampire, The Bunker, Devilers, Punks, The Life After, I could go on and on. He has his twisted chaotic (in a good way) writing style teamed with the art of Bernard Chang who has previously worked on Green Lantern Corps, Demon Knights (very underrated series), DC Universe Presents, Supergirl, some older Valiant titles, and a whole bunch more.
This title tells the story of King, a young man in a deadly world. However, this isn't a tale of him struggling to survive. This is a tale of him being an employee searching for the fabled "Seed of Life" for his reptilian boss. On his way to work we get acquainted with the various folks he has to associate with such as Greek gods corrupted by aliens, basketball loving dinosaurs, Mad Max-esque anthropomorphic animals, mecha karate bears, and some just plain rude monsters. Some of these creatures are friendly while others would like to wipe out the human race, which as far as King knows consists only of himself. As he journeys to find the Seed of Life, he wonders if this will be another wild goose chase or if this task has something far greater in store for him.
Fialkov does it again and it is brilliant! What is "it"? He created a world that exists only to engross the reader and produce a unique story. Instead of making a main character with a ton of human weakness we are given a character that is not only likable but just plain badass. I mean c'mon, he uses a "City of Los Angeles" sign as a shield! That he uses offensively! King just handles himself with this enjoyable confidence that, if replaced with fear and not written by someone with these writing talents, would have given that feeling of "stranger in a strange place" that we have seen a million times. The narratives provide story with out overdoing exposition. Each text box is spoken by King, giving you a sense of his attitude very early in the story in a humorous and unexpected way. The dialogue is quippy and clever while the reason why the world got so messed up is ambiguous enough where Fialkov has free range to build and build. It's not the easiest thing to explain, but this book is genius, you HAVE to check it out. It's a post apocalyptic story where the world is just as lively as it was before it was destroyed.
Chang's art style aids the world King inhabits by providing lush, overgrown, desecrated environments of the world that was mixed with some new "architecture" which allows for an even more mind blowing experience. Character wise we see King, who has a lightly colored style all to himself and gets outfitted with the aforementioned sign strapped to his back, all around he looks how he reads... badass. Then we see the other creatures of the world, or more specifically, LA. While some creatures are being obnoxious, violent ne'er-do-wells others are trying to just live their lives in the same way people did before this world became what it is. We see different... things... driving cars, going to work, wearing clothes, reading the paper etc etc. The set dressing is also something that should be noted as it adds to the somewhat goofy, fun yet dangerous environments with large array of skulls, weaponry, and other signs of struggle. Last thing I would like to mention is Chang's layouts. The layouts in this story create a perfect flow that in many ways suggests a reading speed and allows for a more powerful look at the action.
This publication, physically, is pretty dang new, and this titles proves the quality that it will be producing We have here one of those rare stories that is in a vast and deadly land scape that walks the careful middle ground between being too ridiculous and being too serious with ease. Fialkov, Chang and the rest of the team are off to a great start. With an impossible way of knowing what's going to happen next, I anxiously await the second issue. This book, as I said earlier, came out about a week ago (8/5) and costs only $2.99!