At a near breathless pace, KILLADELPHIA #1 introduces us to the savage murder of a Philadelphia homicide detective, a mayoral candidate who might just be a flesh-eating devil, the history of yellow fever in Philadelphia, and the possibility that America’s founding father John Adams may somehow be responsible for all of it.
Rodney Barnes’ writing is sharp and lean. There isn’t an ounce of fat to the dialogue, and Barnes shows absolutely zero tolerance for string-alone storytelling. This is a vampire story. Just not one you’ve heard before. But also, not not one you’ve heard before. It’s a family drama, of course, and the dead homicide detective’s beat cop son moves us through the story as he tries to reconcile with a lingering and tireless hatred for his father.
This is also a vampire story rooted in American politics. This isn’t to say that it’s strictly a product of its time (although of course it is), but rather that it takes a funhouse mirror to American MadnessTM going all the way back to the revolution. Hence the Philadelphia part. Revolt, civil unrest, despair, violence, disintegrating infrastructure, inequality, racism, and of course, police, all have a part to play here, in what is at-once bafflingly fun and truly heartfelt take on the bloodsucker myth.
SPAWN alum Jason Shaw Alexander’s art helps to ground the events in reality with his signature expressionist grit, the kind that seems dripping in nostalgia and tetanus. There are plenty of details hiding in the backgrounds and corners for you to find, as well, which help flesh out the story the way the best comic art is meant to. The art, in this way, has its own dialogue, its own narrative, which allows for and pairs perfectly with Barnes’ adroitness.
Visit your local comic book store or head to the Image Comics webstore to grab your copy of Killadephia #1, and have a Happy Halloween!