Updated: Jun 24, 2021
Writer: Alex Paknadel Art: Diego Galindo Publisher: Lion Forge
This review only covers issues 10-12, when the title has a soft reboot with a whole new creative team. Because of that, we don't have insight into the full story arc, and if you just pick the title up without reading earlier issues (or the below review, where I catch you up), you may have some questions while you read these issues.
WHAT IS IT?
It's a British superhero story that's part of the greater superhero universe Lion Forge set up recently. These specific issues, however, are less explosions-and-powers and more political intrigue, deep dives into characters, and setting up for the next big story arc both within this title and, possibly, in the greater superhero universe.
It reminded me of a grown-up Captain Britain comic or Superman with PTSD and possibly depression.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Here’s what you need to know if this is your first KINO or Lion Forge Catalyst Prime comic:
This is part of Lion Forge’s (the publisher's) superhero universe, Catalyst Prime
The “Catalyst” of said superhero universe began with something that everyone calls “The Event”
A far right wing politician named Mister Spode says the event never happened and also seems to be influencing terrible people to behave terribly (completely unrelated to present day events in our own world, I'm sure)
This takes place in Britain, and our main character, Alistair Meath is a major in the Royal Air Force (or RAF)
KINO stands for Kinetic Impulse Neoterrestrial Operative
There. Those are the basics you might want to know for these issues. But also, feel free to catch up on previous issues for more context!
Now, onto issues #10-11!
Major Alistair Meath was a hero who died saving the world during "The Event."
Then, he got better.
Now, it seems like people know he’s alive again but he’s still homeless and, for some reason, unable to live with his family. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t seem like he’s in is right mind. Maybe it’s because his powers are on the fritz. But there are other reasons (that are spoilers) why Meath may not be able to go home...or why want to keep a low profile, too.
Can Major Meath get his family back? And will he ever be able to control his powers again? And just what can he do against this new menace, Mister Spode, deeply entrenched in his country's political system?
The B-plot throughout seems to be some kind of cover-up with a tech-powered black ops soldier. I'm sure there's more context here in past and future issues, but this review is just here to tell you what to expect if you're jumping on at issue #10.
Issue #11 ends with Alistair losing control of his powers as he defends himself from some well-off-looking bigots. Issue #12 picks up with one of those bigots in the hospital, claiming he did nothing and blaming it on migrants and "degenerates." The government officials listening to the man's story leave in search of whoever did this to the bedridden bigot, wondering if it's Alistair
The rest of the issue focuses on Meath as he struggles to regain his mental stability and relationships. Who can he trust? And who will trust him?
Read it and find out!
It's fascinating, watching Paknadel take over a superhero book
We can see the seeds he's planting for future plot points to be harvested both in the near future and the far
So often, superheroes seem both glamorous and shallow, but Paknadel brings a depth to this superhero story that makes it more authentic and timely for readers
In traditional Paknadel style, he still manages to fit some social commentary into this superhero comic, which feels good and appreciated
Paknadel also changed the theme for the issue titles to RAF squadron mottos that also give each issue its theme, which is a really great touch
Issue #10: "After Me, The Flood"
While I know this one primarily through Regina Spektor, I had to look up its historical context
In relation to the issue, it could have one or more meanings. The first, that the country may devolve into chaos with him gone. The second, that Meath may expect the aforementioned chaos, but that he doesn't care. That he's got his own issues to worry about. Both seem appropriate for the events in the story!
Issue #11: "Per Noctem Volamus" ("We Fly Through the Night")
This is tied in more overtly and literally at the end of the issue, but to me, it could also mean that Major Meath is able to deal with the stresses laid upon him, like the squadron of bombers who align with this motto, staying awake as they carry out their mission in the dead of night.
Representation is good!
LGBTQIA+ and people of color throughout make the world more diverse and realistic
As stated before, you don’t need to read earlier KINO or Catalyst Prime issues, but it could help provide context
At least it's there if you're interested!
Galindo's photorealistic art and Guzowski's reserved color are the perfect delivery mechanisms for the more mature themes and issues throughout the story
Galindo & Guzowski really shine in issue 12, where so much of the story is paid off by the art and action (see below for an example)
I particularly enjoyed how his transitions are often united through action from one panel to the next
Campbell on letters is always a good thing, and he takes over for the great Todd Klein like it's nothing
He puts a cool stroke around the word balloons for when Alistair speaks, and it just feels grittier and rougher in a subtle way
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Death and violence might mean the book isn't for all ages
The story is set up for the long game, taking place continuously over many issues
Because of this, there are many different plots taking place at the same time, with many different characters, so don't expect a lot to be resolved issue-to-issue
The RAF squadron motto use for the issue titles gets dropped -- I'm sad to see that practice go, but the use of such a niche concept as the "Sin Eater" is pretty cool and worth the change
A catch-up page with the above listed information (the way Marvel does currently) might be helpful for folks jumping on at this point
There are some context clues, but if every issue had to brief the reader on past happenings, it'd be impossible to move the plot forward
It reads pretty British
Doesn't ruin anything, and helps give authenticity to a British superhero, but you may need to ask Dr. Google about some phrases, like "monk on"
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Lion Forge started a new superhero universe. One you don't have to read decades' worth of comics to catch up on, like you'd have to do with DC or Marvel. Plus, Alex Paknadel is a damn fine storyteller. With him at the helm and a solid creative team to support him, KINO is set up to be one of the strongest, most compelling titles coming out of Lion Forge.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
KINO, Vol. 1 by Joe Casey & Jefte Palo
Friendo™ by Alex Paknadel & Martin Simmonds
Captain Britain and MI: 13, Vol. 1 by Paul Cornell & Leonard Kirk
If you like the art:
Coven by Zach Calig & Diego Galindo
Invincible, Vol. 3 by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley
Moon Knight, Vol. 1 by Max Bemis & Jacen Burrows
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Alex Paknadel – Writer
His apprehension toward trusting corporations and the tech industry also inspired his writing on Arcadia & Friendo™
Dream Team: Is part of White Noise Studio with other upcoming, extremely talented writers: Ryan O'Sullivan, Ram V & Dan Watters
Has a PhD in English literature
Diego Galindo – Illustrator
Most of his experience is doing cover art for comics
Adam Guzowski – Colorist
Loves space, swimming and '90s rock
Multitalented: Also does illustration work
Trained at the Kubert School
Jim Campbell – Letterer
Outlander: Hails from the United Kingdom
Multitalented: Also enjoys the art side of the creative world
Seems to be a favorite letterer for teams based in the U.K.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Issue #12 comes out next Wednesday, December 19th! If you want to check out issue #10, when this new creative team's run starts, then...
Click one of these:
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