Writer: Alex Paknadel Art: Diego Galindo Publisher: Lion Forge
This review only covers issue 13. For a review of issues 10-12, which started with a soft reboot and a whole new creative team, click here. Because of that, if you just pick the title up without reading earlier issues, you may have some questions while you read this issue.
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 their mental states, and setting up for the next big story arc both within this title and in Catalyst Prime's greater superhero universe.
It reminded me of a grown-up Captain Britain comic or Superman with PTSD and possibly depression.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
(Moderate Spoilers for Issues 10-12)
Alistair Meath seems to have been cloned, and his wife is living with that clone. Not an ideal state of affairs for Alistair.
His wife has met the real Alistair and no longer seems to trust Meath’s double. But this doppelgänger must be a great actor, because he seems like he may not be aware he actually is a stand-in for the real Meath. Instead, he acts confused, with fuzzy memories and a creeping sense of dread. At least, more of a creeping sense of dread than your average post-Brexit Englishman. The "real" Alistair is currently meeting our new antagonist, Spode, a politician who seems to be crooked in the worst way and probably based heavily on many of our current politicians. But Spode's plans have all led up to this moment. All we can do is watch and hope that the addled Meath still has a good head on his shoulders in some regard. Otherwise, he could unleash some serious damage on everything and everyone around him.
Frazer Irving's covers look like they're crafted from stardust
Paknadel changed the theme from previous 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.
Issue #13: "Operta Aperta" ("Hidden Things Are Revealed")
Definitely true to its promise in this issue!
There's a really smart use of narrative during the B-plot (see image below for the start of this)
To me, the story’s moral seems to be: “Whatever helps you sleep at night.” Even if it seems brutal and barbaric. Even at significant personal cost.
Paknadel's political commentary here reads to me like he's saying "Making your problems other people’s problems and conveniently forgetting all about it so you can sleep a little easier at night is something people in power do, but at great cost to their souls and communities."
While it works to have this over an otherwise silent espionage scene, it also creates a creepy tone and foreshadows future events
Cool Knightmare-inspired scene!
Love the old-school effects; feels like Ed Piskor's X-Men work
If you picked up this title starting with Paknadel's run, this is the first time you've seen the Kino superhero garb
Sloppy Trevor, the Living Fatberg of Whitechapel (That's it. That's the note.)
Representation is good!
LGBTQIA+ and people of color throughout make the world more diverse and realistic
Galindo's photorealistic art and Guzowski's reserved color palette are the perfect delivery mechanisms for the more mature themes and issues throughout the story
I particularly enjoyed how Galindo's 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?
As stated previously, you should probably read at least issues 10-12 before grabbing this one
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
Personally, it was difficult to find a part of this issue that didn't give something away
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 has quickly become 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
Arcadia by Alex Paknadel & Eric Scott Pfeiffer
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.
Jasmine Amiri – Editor
Worked as an editor at BOOM! Studios before moving to Lion Forge Comics
Dream Team: Also worked with Paknadel on Arcadia
Rumor: Seems to be in a relationship with talented ex-X-Men writer, Dennis Hopeless
HOW DO I BUY IT?
Issue #13 comes out next Wednesday, Jan. 30th! 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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