by Gabriel Hardman
Gabriel Hardman’s Kinski has been one of the more fascinating books to come out in 2013. A Monkeybrain Comics book, Gabriel Hardman is responsible for both the story and art here. As the of the fourth issue, readers have been through some very strange sequences with a man named Joe and his connection to a dog he’s named Kinski. Though the connection between man and dog is not terribly unique, this is not Joe’s dog. Not only was it his, it had an owner. And Joe’s near unstable determination to keep Kinski has been fascinating, though immensely odd.
Hardman has a very strange story in Kinski. Joe is no ordinary man, though is colleagues seem only partially phased by his actions. It is this grey-area that Hardman crafts that keep readers from really being able to make a clear determination about if something is amiss. As Joe has a change of heart about taking the dog, his attempt to return Kinski is interrupted when he leaps from the car and takes off through an RV park. That, though, is not the worst of Joe’s luck in this issue.
The progression of Kinski up and through issue four is some great irony. For the first three issues, Joe has had things work out in his favor, even if readers may not be on board. Though the dog ended up being picked up by its owners, Joe was able to still get the dog back. His colleagues did not protest, and one even was willing to go along with Joe’s refusal to stow Kinski in with the luggage, thereby leaving them no choice but to drive hours back to their home city. Joe has avoided any real complication through his problematic choices. Suddenly, however, when Joe decides to return Kinski, his luck falls apart. As the issue continues, Joe’s actions put him in worse and worse situations.
The artwork of the series has been very solid so far and contains some very effective paneling here in issue four. Twice, the story pulls out to a full page panel and each are some great pieces of art coming at high points in the story. At one point during an confrontation, as tensions rise, Hardman moves in and out of the group. Not only does this create a dynamic energy to an otherwise sequence of conversation, but at each push or pull, the focus on the confined, claustrophobic environment, intersperses closeups of faces growing continuously agitated. It is a very effective sequence and shows that even in black and white, Hardman is capable of making an exchange of dialogue very engaging.
It seems as though the ends, here, will not satisfy Joe’s motivations. As such, though things seem to be moving towards the goal Joe desired, the road that led him there was out of his hands. If the final panels of Kinski #4 give any indication, this story is not quite over. Possibly at his lowest yet, readers will likely be very anxious to see what is to come.