Thoughts and music of double J x

‘KISS’ Dynamite Comics (2016)

kiss-thedemon-001-006-007-casallos-4mat-colorsTwo of the greatest things in life combined together. Like chocolate and peanut butter we get KISS and comic books. The problem is, KISS comic books have been very hit and miss over the years dating back to the infamous 1970’s Marvel Comics KISS comic book series that kicked off with nothing less than the KISS band members putting their own blood into the ink of the comic book! (Marvel employees later said there was no way to know if their blood actually went into the ink of the KISS comic or not and that more realistically it ended up in other books.)

There are many variant covers to the issue as one would expect in 2016. You can get some really cool covers of the individual band members, a drawn group shot, a real photo group shot, cartoonish covers, and so one. Basically, there’s pretty much a cover for everyone.

downloadThe cover photo shot is the current line-up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer. The comic is written by Amy Chu with art by Kewber Baal.

I’ll start off by saying the art in this book is really, really good. This is exactly the art style I like. Like most KISS stories, I imagine this will be pretty wacky but let’s go for the ride and get up and get Grandma out of here.

Well, the comic starts off with lyrics from Music From “The Elder” which might not be a good sign. The four characters of KISS are drawn across the top of the page wearing, what appears to be, hooded robes over a shot of some sort of strange futuristic city square. I see a pyramid, the Eiffel Tower, the Sphinx, a Grammy award, Stonehenge, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and other various landmarks.

We find out that this is a dystopian future. A great multi-decade war took place starting in the 2030’s and rage for over 30 years bringing destruction to most of civilization. This drove humanity under ground. They “cobbled together a city from the remnants of the old ones. Salvaging what we could of human history, human achievement.” Imagine the logistics of moving the Great Pyramid somewhere. How does that work? Anyway…

download2This city, Blackwell has a population of 2,251,642. That seems very specific. Anyway, Blackwell is underground and the society seems very bent on safety, perhaps overly so. There are a group of kids who want to break free and one of them has scavenged up a map. They hatch a plan to escape to the surface through the ventilation system and keep coming up on KISS related graffiti. The ventilation system leads them into a greenhouse type area where it appears food is being grown and the kids trip a security system alert. They flee back into the tunnels where they encounter more KISS graffiti including giant faces of the band members.

This time they exit in front of a large monastery. They take shelter inside and comment on the apparent ancientness of the building. We continue to see KISS symbolism inside the monastery too. In the midst of the monastery they find a giant old computer with the name “Morpheus” above it. I’m now wondering if they are in a Rush comic and inside the Temple of Syrinx. I wonder if this is a subtle nod to them. Maybe, maybe not, but of course one of the kids turns on the computer and giant holographic images of the KISS band members fill the inside of the monastery staring down at them. Thus ends issue one.

download-1Wrap up: A cool enough story and the art is great. There was almost literally no actual KISS in this issue which is sad but there was certainly enough there to bring me back for issue 2. Unlike some previous KISS comics there was nothing cringe-worthy and it seems like a basic dystopian action adventure unfolding. There are enough elements here I like but I’m going to have to see more KISS next issue to stick around.

There is a letter from both Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley to wrap up the issue.

By:  Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

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