Updated: Jan 25
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: Luis NCT
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Image Comics
In this debut issue, Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander perfectly meld a dark noir tale with a touch of the supernatural. It's like a David Fincher film meets "Blade". Barnes quick witted dialogue and gripping story mixed with the sublime and gritty realism of Alexander's art makes this one of the best debuts this year. Yet again Image continues to be a treasure chest of great stories, constantly being a "house of ideas" for a new generation.
In Part One of our story, the death of famed detective James Sangster Sr. brings his estranged son, who is also a cop, back home to bury him. After his son discovers his father’s latest case about a series of mysterious murders and some rather insane claims, he decides to investigate. But he has no idea just how insane it's gonna get. This is a supernatural-crime-thriller, that is full of surprises and grabs you from jump.
With a mix of historical fiction mixed with current political commentary, Rodney Barnes delivers one hell of a story. Not to mention he weaves in the supernatural elements in a way that doesn't feel forced or overtly in your face. The majority of this issue deals with Sangster Jr., through reading his father's journal, looking into the last case his father was working on, which caused his sudden death. Barnes creates not only an interesting world for our characters to inhabit, but his characterization is some of the best I've ever read. The dialogue feels natural and he quickly gives us the backstory on James Jr., which gives this story emotional weight and depth.
The pacing of this story, while at first glance may seem exposition heavy, is actually perfect. While too much dialogue could feel "wordy", Barnes use of it helps keep the reader engaged looking for clues right along with James Jr. It totally has this "Se7en" vibe that I absolutely dig.
Jason Shawn Alexander brings everything together with his moody and evocative art. His almost photo realistic art helps the reader get lost in this grim world. He continues to prove why he's one of the greatest talents in the industry. With each passing page you can almost feel yourself falling deeper down the rabbit hole as James Jr. continues his investigation. The art in this book is so good it's not even fair, I don't know that this book would be near as good without it.
Overall, KILLADELPHIA is both gripping and captivating, it will leave you on the edge of your seat. The idea of a crime procedural mixed with family drama and vampires, doesn't necessarily scream success at first thought. But Barnes and Alexander execute it seamlessly and flawlessly. This is a book that will leave you yearning for more. With 2019 coming to a close, Barnes and Alexander made sure to go out with a bang and are already ensuring that they have no intentions of slowing down.