KARMEN #1, available Wednesday from Image Comics, dives into a dark and disturbing world, one that will raise twice as many questions as it seeks to answer. This is already proving to be a read not designed for the faint of heart.
Karmen #1 is the beginning of a five-issue miniseries written and illustrated by Guillem March (known for Catwoman, Batman, and Harley Quinn, among other series). This series is about an angel who at times may appear to be anything but.
They say that death is only the beginning. That may just be the case for Karmen, a skeletal looking angel with a strong and unique personality. She may not be what you picture, when you think of a shepherd, but that’s half the point, is it not?
This series is already proving to be dark and disturbing, one that isn’t afraid to show the more disturbing sides of humanity and pain. On that note, this is perhaps not an issue for everyone. (Spoiler/trigger warning) Karmen #1 depicts imagery of self-harm and suicide, and it is present often enough to make it impossible to skip over.
Karmen #1 is every bit as dark and disturbing as the description promises. Yet it is so much more than that as well. Much like the dreams described within these pages, there is an ethereal feeling to the introduction.
There’s a hidden depth to what has already been introduced. It’s so easy and tempting to theorize what Guillem March is trying to say here. But at the end of the day, it almost feels better to wait and see what the next issue holds. What the next issue will reveal, and how it will change this path we’re seeing for Karmen.
Not to mention her human ward. Her story is a complex and heartbreaking tale. One that feels so human in the way pain is portrayed. In how her whole life is shown through a series of moments, only to transition into something so very different.
Those are admittedly the more difficult scenes to take in, as is the overall implication of what has happened. On the bright side (I promise you there is one), Karmen’s bright personality really does help to balance out the weighted reality that Cata brings with her.
The artwork in Karmen #1 stands out about as much as her personality. That is to say – it will stand out among the crowd. Now and always. Guillem March’s style is so strong here, portraying a variety of scenes, happily bouncing back and forth between tones and implications. It’s almost too much to take in.
For every evocative and ethereal moment described in this issue, the artwork takes it several steps further. Karmen really does look like a warped angel, and is a stark contrast to that of Cata – her pain, her appearance, everything.
Guillem did have a color assistant, Tony Lopez, and together they created something so surreal. The colors themselves seem to be trying to tell a story – to hint about the truth well before it’s confirmed directly.
One that note, I would once again like to remind readers that this series really isn’t going to be for everyone. The artwork doesn’t shy away from the reality of the situation, even if it does dance around it from time to time. There are certainly a few scenes that some might find extremely upsetting.
Karmen #1 is going to be one of those issues that sticks with me for years to come, I just know it. The story and the artwork have wormed their way into my head, leaving me curious about Karmen and her intentions. I know I will not be the only reader so captivated by this tale.