Review by: Cynnara Tregarth
Jim Sangster Sr., Homicide. Has an interesting ring to it, doesn’t it? The moment I saw the opening sequence for Killadelphia, an email- I thought, “This is going to get interesting and drag me along for the ride.” I’m not wrong. Buckle up, Buttercups, because this isn’t your typical comic- this is Killadelphia, where hope is hard to come by, people scam others, and setups are everywhere you turn. Within the first five pages, you’re in so deep, you’re wondering if you can even survive the story- that’s how deep Rodney Barnes buries you into the plotline. Bless Rodney Barnes for making my life so damn interesting these days!
The lettering in this comic is beyond superb. Lettering makes the story move flawlessly or makes you stumble. The lettering by Marshall is amazing and drives you forward, pauses you where you need to think, pray, and then hurtles you forward when all you want to do is stop for one more breath. The artwork and colouring- let’s talk about this gritty, yet real beauty here. Jason Shawn Alexander has drawn some amazing things, but this story grabs your carotids and haunts you. The art is simple compelling, straight to the heart. The colours used by Luis NCT are ones you’d associate with the darker storylines, without being morbid. Yet, within the colour palette, you find hints of something more, something unique about the story itself. The yellow isn’t quite what you’d think. Even the pinks are a bit different as if missing an underlying tone. It all is so spot on with its own special place within the story, you just fall even harder into the Killadelphia universe.
Philadelphia, the city of Brotherhood, city which Sangster fights the good fight. I’ve been to Philly a few times in my life. I love the city, the history, and my heart breaks for how many good cities have fallen on hard times. Like all amateur historians, you give me tidbits of history within a great story, I’m falling hard and deep. The Sons of the Republic in this story is something you have to read to understand. President John Adams. Quincy, Massachusetts- United First Parish Church, where I have visited in person. Every page, you slide deeper in this world, you shake your head with Sangster. You don’t want to believe what your head and heart are telling you even if it’s Occam ’s razor in effect. Why? Because it’s too out there. It’s too illogical, too woo-woo. Yet, every step of the story, Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn just draw you in deeper in this world until there is no way out.
I won’t spoil what happens further in the first issue, though I really want to. But trust me, when you realise that Sangster Jr. is going to follow his father’s last footsteps, solve the case his father couldn’t- this isn’t something you can reveal everything about. It must be experienced. It must be lived- Killadelphia style.
I’m a huge fan of Rodney Barnes and his work, but this storyline is so much more than I imagined when he first spoke on it. I can’t wait to delve into it more as the issues come out. The artwork is so compelling, you find yourself tracing certain areas with your fingertips, looking for what isn’t there…and that really gets to you as you progress in the first issue. Then you get to the end, all Hel breaks loose in your mind and soul. Rodney Barnes gives you so much to digest in this first issue, you literally sit back and wonder how to digest not just the history, but the emotions, and the shock. This is a series you do not want to miss at all.
Writer: Rodney Barnes Colourist: Luis NCT
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Image Comics Editor: Greg Tumbarello
Available: Everywhere comics are sold, Comixology on November 27th, 2019.