Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Comics Review: "KILLADELPHIA #30" is Also Designed to Fill Your Mind


STORY: Rodney Barnes
LAYOUTS: Jason Shawn Alexander
PENCILS: Germán Erramouspe
INKS: Jason Shawn Alexander with Robert Melendrez
COLORS: Lee Loughridge
LETTERS: Marshall Dillon
EDITOR: Greg Tumbarello
COVER: Jason Shawn Alexander
32pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (April 2023)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Killadelphia created by Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander

“There's No Place Like Home” Part VI: “This One's for Ray”

Killadelphia is an apocalyptic vampire and dark fantasy comic book series from writer Rodney Barnes and artist Jason Shawn Alexander.  Published by Image Comics, it centers on a conspiracy in which vampires attempt to rule Philadelphia.  The series is currently written by Barnes and drawn by Alexander and Germán Erramouspe.  Colorist Lee Loughridge and letterer Marshall Dillon complete Killadelphia's creative team.

Killadelphia focuses on James “Jim” Sangster, Jr., a ragtag team of fighters, and a menagerie of gods and monsters on one side or the other or both in the vampire invasion of Philadelphia.  Of note are a special young vampire (Tevin Thompkins a.k.a. “See Saw”), Anansi the Spider-God, and the infamous rebel leader turned monster hunter, Toussaint Louverture, and his army of killers.

Killadelphia #30 (“This One's for Ray”) opens with the story of Raynard, a friend of our vampire prodigy, See Saw.  In the story of Raynard, we see the origins of See Saw's curiosity and of how he views the world.  It all leads to his terrible and transformational decision, one that will spawn great consequences.

Meanwhile, holed up in their apartment are Jim, Jr. and a pregnant Jose.  They're about to receive a visitor, and it isn't one they expect.  But it is one that had to happen, considering what Jim left behind in Baltimore, Maryland.

THE LOWDOWN:  We have reached the final chapter of Killadelphia's fifth story arc, “There's No Place Like Home.”  Before this arc debuted, creators Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander warned readers that they were not prepared for what was coming in the arc – which has proven to be true, very true – even truer than true.

In many of my previous reviews of Killadelphia, I have talked about how Barnes and artist Alexander have embraced change.  The surprises and shockers aren't just story arc to story arc or even just issue to issue.  Change and transformation are the foundation of the rhythms of this narrative.

Barnes has taken history, mythology, myth, and lore and used the connections that bind them to weave a complicated dark fantasy that is as much supernatural realism as it is vampire comic book.  And it is a very good vampire comic book.  Killadelphia is simply world-building that excepts change and chaos more than it deals with order and canonical trappings and other tropes of fictional universes.

The art team for Killadelphia #30, Jason Shawn Alexander and Germán Erramouspe, offer a poignant closer that explodes in preparation for what comes next.  Yes, we didn't know what was coming in Killadelphia #30, but we did know that the unexpected was coming.  That much is always assured.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of vampire comic books and of exceptional dark fantasy will want Killadelphia.



 - Killadelphia #30 is also available in a “Noir Edition,” featuring black-and-white line art interiors.

 - This issue includes an “Afterword” by Rodney Barnes

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


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