by Max Bemis, Logan Faerber, and Juan Manuel Tumburús
Max Bemis has written some very interesting comics already in his still very young career. With this new book, he looks to take on the industry itself. Oh, Killstrike is a story about a man named Jared and his unlikely sidekick who just happens to be a character in a 90’s comic. The book, which attempts to offer a bit of commentary on the industry’s hyperbolic period of extremes, certainly takes a lighter tone in its critiques of the era. When the violent character steps out of his book and into this dimension, Jared is forced to find him a mission.
The book opens with Jared, the story’s protagonist, finding a listing online of a comic he owns being sold for $100,000. He then launches into a long-winded explanation about the industry, the trend towards the more absurd, and this book at the end of that path. ‘Killstrike’ was seen as the most ridiculous and awful book, taking the tendencies of hyper-violence and unnatural body shapes too far. Jared’s monologue about all of this to his wife and his rationale for why it is okay for him to profit off of the very thing he has come to hate takes a good bit of time. For those familiar with these events in the history of the medium, it is unclear if reading through them from his perspective will be enjoyable or exhausting, as it is pretty well-known. Either way, once the book moves beyond this sequence, it does better to establish its tone and pacing.
At first, Bemis’ reference to Jared knowing he has the book stored somewhere feels heavy-handed in indicating that he will come to find it is missing. However, the events that transpire at Jared’s mother’s house are not quite so telegraphed. Instead, the man not only finds the issue, but also is soon face to face with its main character. Logan Faerber and Juan Manuel Tumburús have fun with the book in having the opportunity to create this hulking character and place him in the confines of the real world. At one point later in the issue, Jared has returned home only to find that the vengeful giant has followed him home. Faerber crafts a visual leaving the man standing in the doorway of Jared’s home. Seeing how little of him is actually visible in the space of the front door all the more accents the absurdity of these creations.
The events that take place from the time that Killstrike comes to Jared’s home through to the end of the book are what makes the first chapter of this new series so enjoyable. While it takes a bit of time to get going, Killstrike eventually hits stride. Bemis has created a book that looks to poke fun at a past decade in the comic book industry. But his approach and tone are not heavy-handed or overly critical. Instead, the light-hearted satire winds up being more fun than expected. With Jared and Killstrike setting off for New York City in an attempt to help the character fulfill his required mission for vengeance, the story looks to only get more ridiculous and more entertaining next month.