Killadelphia Vol 1 is a beautifully drawn horror comic book published by Image Comics that breathes new life into the age-old enemy of vampires by presenting them in a realistic modern-day setting.
About the book:
When small-town beat cop Jimmy Sangster returns to his Philadelphia roots to bury his murdered father, he stumbles into a mystery that will lead him down a path of horrors and shake his beliefs to their core. The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality…and vampires.There’s a reason they say you can’t go home again. Welcome to Killadelphia.
Through the writing of Rodney Barnes, the art of Jason Shawn Alexander, the coloring of Luis NCT, and the lettering of Marshall Dillon, Killadelphia comes together to be an incredibly enjoyable vampire tale.
Killadelphia vol 1 does not spend much time developing the characters before the action begins, but this surprisingly has little impact on whether the readers care about the characters. The book has a clear emphasis on action, and this is wonderfully supported by the artwork, so it is alright that the characters’ stories take a step back. Killadelphia makes up for this light characterization by having the stories of many of the characters be familiar. James Sangster Sr. is a police detective that cares about seeing justice in his city, James Sangster Jr. suffered from an emotionally distant father, and one character is deeply affected by the passing of his grandmother. All of these are character traits that we are familiar with through other media or possibly our own lives. This gives us an emotional connection to these characters before we’ve even had the chance to get to know them, and we can enjoy the characters surviving through the horrors without dwelling on characterization that can be developed more later.
The art of Jason Shawn Alexander is enough reason alone to pick up a copy of Killadelphia Vol 1. The semi-realistic art style gives the horror story a more serious tone and is simply a pleasure to look at. The ultra-violent scenes also have a much more lasting impact when the characters look real and are more prone to shock readers than a different art style.
Luis NCT used a limited color palette for most of Killadelphia, which helped set the tone of the volume. The use of dark and dirty colors and textures made the characters, clothes, and city seem more realistic and is a refreshing change from most of the comic books on shelves today. In scenes featuring blood and violence, different shades of red almost completely overtake the scene, which causes panels to boldly stand out from the rest of the scenes, and highlights the viciousness of what is occurring on panel.
Marshall Dillon picks his moment to stand out in volume one of Killadelphia. When the vampires begin to attack, the lettering plays a significant role in terms of sound captions. Onomatopoeias such as the “Skreee” of a shrieking vampire written in blood red and an entirely different font helps to highlight the inhumane nature of the creatures and is a wonderful instance of how important lettering can be. No sound or a less energetic font could have completely slowed the energy of the scene, and ruined the fast-paced action of the scene. There are several other instances where sound captions are used, and Dillon does an amazing job so that each of these has an impact on the reader.
Killadelphia Vol 1 is, without a doubt, something to check out. It’s vampires brought into the modern-day, complemented by fantastic art, coloring, and lettering. The action scenes flow so smoothly and are visually stunning in so many ways. Barnes, Alexander, NCT, and Dillon absolutely knocked it out of the park with this first story arc, and it will be exciting to see the path the story continues to take.