In the first edition of my new Trade of the Week column I’ll be taking a look at the first volume of King City from Brandon Graham.
King City lasted one volume while being put out by Tokyo Pop before they canned Graham and the book got cancelled. Recently Image picked up the license and will reprint the first volume as single issues then allow Graham to continue the story as he originally envisioned it. I love seeing an artist get a second chance and Image seems like just the right place for this book to find a home.
Right from the get-go this book lets you know what it’s all about. Things get real weird real quick. King City opens with our hero Joe returning to his hometown after being away for several years. Joe is a freelance spy whose weapon of choice is a magic cat named Earthling J. J. Cattingworth III. Earthling is a super intelligent cat that can pretty much do anything, sometimes with the aide of a syringe full of ‘cat juice’ to give it a power boost. The cat can fight ancient demons, pick locks, and do two crossword puzzles at once. Needing a place to stay, Joe hooks up with his old buddy, another freelancer named Pete. While Pete takes a job as an escort for a water breathing alien girl whom he begins to fall for, Joe spies on a group of cannibal sushi eating mobsters across the street from his new hideout. As the volume progresses Joe and Pete fall deeper and deeper into the dealings of the King City’s mafia underground and a gang dealing in an illegal drug called Chalk.
The story gets pretty weird but I never felt like it got too weird. But that could just be me. I like weird things so this book was right up my alley. The art is fantastic. The presentation of the book in a smaller digest format and style of the art are incredibly manga influenced. The inking, use of grey scale, pacing and use of action all have a very eastern feel to them. This comes as no surprise as manga sensibilities used in American comics is a very popular trend now with books like Scott Pilgrim and even Invincible employing artistic and storytelling influence from Japanese comics. Graham really makes you care about this cast of oddball characters and uses the city in a way that makes it feel like it’s part of the story rather than just where this story takes place.
I really enjoyed this book and once it starts getting put out by Image next month it’ll definitely be on my pull list. With a solid and original story and art that grabs you with its funky and unique style I give this book a solid 4/5.
What I picked up this week:
Invincible #65 4/5 Felt good to take a breather and have an issue of almost all dialogue after Conquest.
Chew #3 and 4 5/5 These issues have been sold out everywhere and for good reason.
Daredevil #500 4/5 Great send off for Brubaker as this books writer and some nice extra features in this super sized issue.
Blackest Night: Superman #1 4/5 As a big Superman fan I’ve been very excited to see how Blackest Night would fold out for the Man of Steel and I was not disappointed.
Batgirl #1 3/5 Nice set up issue. I hope we see a bit more about Cass giving up the cowl.
Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 4/5 Picked this one up a week late. Good solid issue. With this and Ultimate Comics Spider-Man I’m getting really excited for the Ultimate universe again
Panel of the week:
F**k yeah, Superman!