Thursday, September 8, 2016

I Reads You Review: KARNAK #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Warren Ellis
ART: Gerardo Zaffino
COLORS: Dan Brown
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
COVER: David Aja
VARIANT COVERS:  Gerardo Zaffino; Jim Cheung with Justin Ponsor; Skottie Young; Eric Powell (Monster variant) Kaare Andrews (Hop Hop variant)
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2015)

Rated T+

Karnak created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

“The Flaw in All Things” Part 1

Karnak is a Marvel Comics character that is part of the super-human race known as the Inhumans.  Karnak was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and debuted in Fantastic Four #45 (cover dated: December 1965), the same issue in which the Inhumans first appeared.

Unlike most Inhumans, Karnak was not exposed to the Terrigen Mists.  Because he did not undergo Terrigenesis, he did not develop additional powers like other Inhumans.  A martial artist, Karnak can find the weakness or the flaw in anything (people, ideas, objects, philosophies, structures, and systems).  Using his training and strength, Karnak exploits his talents and can turn a weakness into a weapon.

Marvel Comics is apparently expanding the profile of the Inhumans even more, and that includes launching Inhuman solo titles.  The first one is Karnak, which is written by Warren Ellis; drawn by Gerardo Zaffino; colored by Dan Brown; and lettered by Clayton Cowles.  [Of note:  due to unforeseen circumstances, the art team will change in future issues.]

Karnak #1 (“The Flaw in All Things” Part 1) finds Magister Karnak doing his thing at the Tower of Wisdom.  His thing is interrupted when S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Coulson come calling for his help and whisk him off to a S.H.I.E.L.D. base in the Arctic.

It seems that William and Sarah Roderick have lost their son, Adam.  He recently underwent Terrigenesis and afterwards, was abducted.  The culprit seems to be I.D.I.C. (International Data Integration and Control), an old splinter group of A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics), thought to be defunct. Now, Karnak, the baddest philosopher since I-don't-know-who, will find Adam and I.D.I.C.

Karnak is another intriguing series from the mind of Warren Ellis, one of most the imaginative and inventive writers of North American and British comic books.  When I first heard that there was going to be a Karnak comic book, I was all like “Puh-lease!”  However, once I learned that Ellis would be the writer, I was intrigued.

I read Ellis' Karnak as an amalgamation of a fixer, special operative, troubleshooter, and martial artist.  He is the Inhuman blunt instrument, called in when no one can get the job done.  I wonder if Karnak will be a pop comic, full of kick-ass and action swag, while offering up something new in terms of ideas, plots, and settings.

Surprisingly, I am as impressed with the art of Gerardo Zaffino and Dan Brown as I am with Ellis' story-script-concept.  Zaffino's compositions are representational in a moody and impressionistic way, but the art makes for kinetic storytelling – as if the narrative is always urging forward.  The colors are alluring; they are like candy, and I think Brown's hues were the elements that kept drawing me deeper into this first issue.

I heartily recommend Karnak.  Readers looking for the really different in the All-New, All-Different Marvel will want to buy this first issue, even if it means mail order or digital.


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

The text is copyright © 2016 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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