Monday, February 29, 2016

Review - Karma Police #1 (@ComicExperience)

"Life is suffering, death is a new beginning. This cycle is eternal..."

The concept of reincarnation is one shared by many religions and the importance of it to those religions can't be understated. There's something elegant about the notion that your actions in one life will have a direct impact on another life. There are some who are reincarnated with goodness in their hearts, but those reincarnated with something else need to be dealt with. Karma Police #1 from Comics Experience offers a tale where the reincarnated aren't all on the same side all the time. The issue is written by Chris Lewis, illustrated by Tony Gregori, colored by Jasen Smith and lettered by Nic J. Shaw.

A young Buddhist monk named Jack must defeat luchador demons and resist the thrall of an enchanted dagger in order to reclaim her own destiny and end a cycle of violence that stretches across lifetimes.

The approach Lewis takes in Karma Police #1 is pretty relaxed, yet direct at the same time. He wastes no time setting up the bad guy, the good guy and how their paths will cross, while at the same time offering a little insight into why all the players are involved in the first place. He's certainly not the first person to present a story in such a way, but there's something about the simplicity of his approach that feels inviting. It also helps that Lewis provides the characters with a slew of snappy and engaging dialogue, all of which moves the story along very well. The issue is paced very quickly even though it never feels like Lewis is rushing through to get to any point in the story.

Gregori's art style is defined by characters who boast very sharp, angled faces and body types that adds a jagged feeling to the action. The way these characters interact with one another is made better because of this style, as there's a shared kineticism across all characters that the body shapes amplify. Gregori also uses interesting camera angles in showing off the characters performing various actions, which provides a sense of distance in some cases that provides depth to the 2D renderings. The gutters switch between being empty and being filled in with black for various effects as well, drawing more direct attention to the panels. Smith does great work with the colors as well, providing the books with a vividness that adds an airiness to it that's just plain enjoyable.

Karma Police #1 is a very enjoyable first issue that effectively introduces the reader to most of the relevant components of the story. Jack's role in the grander scheme of things and her abilities still require more attention, but there's plenty more issues for that to be revealed. Lewis handles the script very deftly, giving the plot time to unfold without moving too quickly through any aspect of it. The illustrations by Gregori are very clean and refined, providing a great look at the concept and effectively handling scenes of monks or demons. Karma Police #1 is a lot of fun and offers a pretty fresh concept that's bolstered by great execution.

Karma Police #1 is in stores now.


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