Friday, August 13, 2021

Comics Review: KISS: Phantom Obsession #1

KISS: PHANTOM OBSESSION #1
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Ian Edginton
ART: Celor
COLORS: Valentina Pinto
LETTERS: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Joseph Rybandt
COVER: Jae Lee with June Chung
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Stuart Sayger; Tim Seeley; Celor; Jae Lee
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (August 2021)

Rated Teen+

Kiss is an American, four-man, rock band.  It was formed in New York City in January 1973 by Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss, the original line-up that is also considered classic Kiss.  Kiss is best known for its members' face paint and stage outfits, and the group rose to prominence and gained a notorious reputation in the mid to late 1970s with its shocking live performances, which featured fire breathing, blood-spitting, and pyrotechnics.

The members of Kiss have licensed their band name and likenesses for merchandising.  In a 2014 article, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Kiss had sold over one billion dollars from the sale of more than three thousand licensed items.  That merchandising includes comic books.  Kiss first officially appeared in a comic book in Marvel Comics' Howard the Duck #12 (cover dated: May 1977) and first starred in their own comic book with Marvel Comics Super Special #1 (1977).  Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Platinum Studios, Archie Comics, and IDW Publishing have published licensed Kiss comic books.

Dynamite Entertainment obtained the license to produce comic books featuring Kiss' brand and began releasing Kiss comic books in 2016.  The latest comic book is Kiss: Phantom Obsession.  It is written by Ian Edginton; drawn by Celor; colored by Valentina Pinto; and lettered by Troy Peteri.  Phantom Obsession pits the band against a powerful, obsessed Kiss fan.

Kiss: Phantom Obsession #1 finds the members of KISS:  Paul, Gene, Ace, and Peter onboard a private, but mysterious flying craft.  It belongs to Darius Cho, the richest man in existence … and the most reclusive.  By reputation, he is a ghost and a phantom; some people even believe he doesn't exist and is actually a front for a maze of companies and consortiums.

Oh, but Cho does exist, and he is a huge KISS fan.  He has hired the band to play a private party for his employees.  But KISS is an obsession for Cho, and the band has some misgivings about him.  Unfortunately, KISS might not be suspicious enough...

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Kiss: Phantom Obsession #1, which is the very first Kiss comic book that I have ever read.

I like that Ian Edginton makes the members of KISS wary of their faux-benefactor.  There is something endearing about their suspicions; it suggests that they have knowledge and power and cannot really be victimized.  It also prepares the readers for some seriously dramatic conflict.

The art team of illustrator Celor and colorist Valentina Pinto:  I can take it or leave it.  The two of them come together and are good enough.  Troy Peteri's electric lettering gives the graphics the spice and energy they need.  I look forward to the second issue.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Kiss comic books will want to read Kiss: Phantom Obsession.

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


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