Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review - Kiss #1 (@DynamiteComics)


"A world without heroes is like a world without sun."

Kiss is one of the most recognized bands in the world. Their discography and larger than life personas have made them cultural icons whose reputation is second to none. Dynamite Comics wants to bring more fans into the fold with Kiss #1. The issue is written by Amy Chu, illustrated by Kewber Baal, colored by Schumerys Baal and lettered by Troy Peteri.

In a world without sun and a world without heroes, four young friends embark on a dangerous mission – to uncover the truth about the mysterious Council of Elders and their underground home, the city of Blackwell. But first they need some help from the past…

It's hard to conceive of the notion that a band as revered as KISS could have a world created around their existence, but that's exactly what Chu does in Kiss #1. In her world, KISS is represented as a myth via wall paintings and mysterious writings in a way that makes them larger than life. The band is already larger than life on its own, but Chu bolsters that reputation through characters who pay reverence to them in different ways. The dialogue in Kiss #1 is pretty straightforward and keeps the story churning as Chu invites the reader to buy into the mystique of the band. And the band in question don't really make a single appearance in the first issue, but Chu ensures their mystique is felt throughout.

Considering the relatively dire state of the world in Kiss #1, Baal does a remarkable job of making the world feel full of life. The characters bring with them a certain look that's a mix of throwback to the Industrial Revolution and futuristic cities. Those characters have very expressive facial expressions that Baal capitalizes on in a way that's a nod to the more famous faces the issue is about. The panels are laid out pretty simply with most of the pages sporting standard grids and a few insets/overlays that Baal works in to break things up visually. Baal's colors are very vibrant and pop with bright neon graffiti breaking up the monotony of the dull, gray tones of the city.

Kiss #1 is a fun first issue that references the band without featuring them strongly. The residents of Blackwell are living under a somewhat oppressive regime of sorts even though it doesn't bill itself as such. Chu's script is very easygoing and gets right to it, demonstrating to the reader that the reverence paid to Kiss is achieved even through the band's mystique. Baal's artwork is a good fit for the issue as it emphasizes characters fighting to break the monotony. Kiss #1 is pretty slick and it will be entertaining to see how things unfold when the band actually shows up.

Kiss #1is in stores now.

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