by Max Bemis, Logan Faerber and Juan Manuel Tumburus
The concept of an endearing adventure tale featuring an adult male and the come-to-life comic character from brutally violent 90’s action comics seems like a long shot at the least. Oh, Killstrike set out to present just this type of story, placing Max Bemis in a tough position of balancing commentary and unique plot. Now beyond the halfway point, the story and its leads have done just that and Killstrike is working out to be a very entertaining title from Boom! Studios.
Now that Jared and Killstrike have found Kevin McNeal, they have a possible lead to working their way towards Jared’s father. One of the best moments of the series was placing Killstrike on a plan in the second issue, and Bemis continues to find entertaining avenues to explore with the ridiculous character. In the third issue, Jared and Killstrike navigate a Comic Con with the artist presenting a number of really amazing sequences. Bemis finds a way to create opportunities for commentary about the industry, both past and present, but avoid reaching a point of exhaustion with the nods or jabs. One of the more interesting moments is when the writer seeps in a bit, having McNeal rip into Jared and the hypocritical indie comics fans of the modern era. As Jared is on a journey to come to terms with who he is and what he appreciates, Bemis takes a few shots at types of comic fans, almost challenging them to face a similar contradiction. It’s a risk, possibly alienating readers in doing so, but Bemis’s tone and ability as a writer allows such a sequence to transpire without losing focus of the story or actually offending members of the comic book community.
Logan Faerber and Juan Manuel Tumburus continue to find ways to make this story visually successful. Despite the enormity and absurdity of Killstrike’s physique, the artists have a great handle on how to involve the character in scenes without making his stature distract from the plot. Still, the depiction of Killstrike and his presence in many of the scenes are a solid source of comedy on their own. This third issue of Killstrike finds the leads doing some sightseeing, and Faerber with Tumburus depict some rather comical settings, eventually placing the action star in the middle of a large fight. The double-page spread is an equally kinetic as it is comedic, followed by a pinnacle moment for Jared. Faerber and Tumburus have, like Bemis, found a middle ground that allows the story to be light and funny without straying too far into the hyperbolic.
The book continues to drop clever pieces that range from somewhat opaque references to comic history to much more on-the-nose moments. It is impressive to see just how functional the story remains to be for readers with a limited or casual knowledge of comic book history, while offering a few extra laughs for those who have a little more under their belt. It’s likely that the premise and approach to Oh, Killstrike will not engage all types of readers, but that is not indicative of the caliber of craft behind the title. In fact, with only an issue left, many readers will be rather hopeful that there may be future stories for these characters. That, on its own, is evidence of a well made title.