By Randy Stradley, Douglas Wheatley
“Tiger wait! Don’t open that door until I’m there to help you… oh. Oh!”
“Relax, Milo. The doorway to the Vortex can open randomly to billions of different times and dimensions… unless one knows the secret to controlling it.”
But can it dance?
Issue #1 of King Tiger places you into the real world, but with a main character that is very much invested in fantasy. Randy Stradley and Douglas Wheatley do a great job of blurring those lines.
Writer Randy Stradley starts off this story on the heels of another, but gives enough insight and a chilling new scenario to pull you in right away. You first meet Milo, a man who claims he can keep up with Tiger (a martial artist with magical powers). The two make an interesting duo as at one point Tiger tries to explain to him the complex names of all his weapons (Milo being his “caddy” for when Tiger goes into battle), but even though Milo can’t keep up right away he shows enough determination for Tiger to trust his abilities.
Stradley drops a bit of background on Tiger as his girlfriend Rikki talks about how she “saved” him from going to jail years ago, as he was using his magic abilities to win at a casino. Makes you wonder what evil Tiger could do with his powers if not helped onto the righteous path by Rikki…
The artwork by Douglas Wheatley comes off as realistic representations from the shading on people’s facing to textures of the furniture. He’s spent his time giving this book a “real world” feeling, which works well when all of the absurd fantasy elements come into play (the door mentioned in the quote above being one of them). During the issue we get a small glimpse at what they’re up against as a group of hostages is met by their captor… along with one of his henchman who just so happens to be a large beast of some kind with quite a temper. The detail Wheatley puts into this character makes it a chilling interaction between him and the one hostage that spoke up.
Something Stradley does well throughout the issue is drive in the point that “hope is humanity’s great weakness” – essentially giving you a reason to turn off Netflix for a bit and get some work done. This is a series that lives in fantasy, but brings forth realistic life lessons.