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Review – Killadelphia #3 (Image Comics)

Killadelphia #3 (Image Comics) cover B (detail) by Matteo Scalera
Overall
8.3/10
8.3/10
  • Writing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Art - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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Killadelphia #3

Writer: Rodney Barnes
Pencils: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colors: Luis NCT
Letters: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: Image Comics
Maturity Rating: Mature
Release Date: January, 29th 2020

Take a step back through time and see the beginnings of Vampire President, John Adams. What is his endgame? Can he and his army of the undead be stopped, or is it already too late?

Sinking Your Teeth into Killadelphia #3

In Killadelphia #3 the fangs are finally starting to come out. After months of speculation, readers begin to gain insight into the life of Founding Father and former President, John Adams. Can the city of Brotherly Love escape his evil plot? 

Writing

Killadelphia #3 (Image Comics) cover A by Jason Shawn Alexander
Killadelphia #3 (Image Comics) cover A by Jason Shawn Alexander

The first thing to take note of in Killadelphia #3 is the chapter title: “Abaddon”. Now, according to the Hebrew Bible, Abaddon refers to a bottomless pit of despair. In the New Testament, Abaddon is the demonic General of Hell, commander of an army of locusts. He is both the Angel of Death and the Destroyer of Worlds. While it would appear that writer Rodney Barnes is foreshadowing some horrific event to come, the question that remains unclear is this: who exactly is Abaddon? Is he a metaphor for Vampire President John Adams? Some kind of cryptic warning of evil to come? Or is Abaddon someone we already know; someone we trust? 

In regard to the overall plot, the story continues to inch forward at a snail’s pace. This month readers are receiving some much-needed insight and perspective regarding the character of former Vampire President, John Adams. As his story begins to unfold between the covers, pieces of American history spring to life upon the page (in a very Abbey Road fashion). It would appear that Adams and his vampire horde have indeed always been pulling the strings from the shadows, disappearing and reappearing over the centuries as the need dictated. But what still remains a mystery is why are they here; why now? What are they really after?

What is growing increasingly more evident is the overall theme that author Rodney Barnes is trying to espouse. Mainly, that the Founding Fathers of Democracy were nothing more than a bunch of self-serving bloodsucking monsters who fed off of their own populace. Most imperative, however, is that these politics of selfishness and greed still persist to this day. 

Art

The artwork of Jason Shawn Alexander in Killadelphia #3 is deeply unnerving. Deep wells of acrylic and black ink combine to weave together a horrific tapestry of terror that can only be described in one word: disturbing. It’s the kind of stuff that nightmares are made of; the kind of art that will make you think twice about turning off the light or checking under your bed before you go to sleep. The page layout is chaotic and works to embolden the ever-increasing sense of dread. It isn’t difficult to understand why JSA is so highly regarded, not only by his fans but his peers as well. 

While it’s undeniable that Jason Shawn Alexander carries the bulk of the load in Killadelphia #3, what’s sure to set your teeth a-chattering is the magnificently macabre color palette of Luis NCT. Just one look into those lifeless, undead, yellow eyes and you’ll be so positively petrified you won’t be able to shut your own lids come nightfall. Luis is playing to the audience’s base senses. He knows what scares you and he’s going to make you face it, whether you’re prepared or not. 

Conclusion

I love nothing more than a good vampire story. My history with horror has been positively riddled with nightmares featuring Bram Stoker’s children of the night. Lately, however, it seems that vampire-horror has gone soft; it’s lost its bite. Thank Abaddon for Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander for reminding us what true vampire horror should not only look like but what it should feel like as well. Killadelphia #3 is a remarkable reinvention of an age-old horror element with a surprising and refreshingly modern twist. This is one history lesson that we can all sink our teeth into.  


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