Welcome back to Haunted MTL’s comic reviews. For this installment, we continue Killadelphia‘s “Sins of the Father” arc with this third part, ominously titled “Abaddon.” Do series writer Rodney Barnes and the art team of Jason Shawn Alexander and Luis Nct continue to impress?
One thing I didn’t really discuss in my previous reviews of the comic was the fact it can be a very funny book. We have some interesting and snicker-worth lines between the vampiric father, cop son, and medical examiner. There are quite a few clever one-liners that contrast nicely with just how messed up the circumstances are. It’s a very smart move to include these moments of levity, particularly given how heavy the subject matter, both literally and metaphorically, can be.
The story progresses nicely in this issue. There is a general check-in across the board with various players. There are a few different storylines going on, but oddly enough none of them feel underdeveloped in this issue. This is a great sign when we are three issues deep.
The real star of the show in “Abaddon,” however, is former U.S. President John Adams.
The United States of Vampire
What is most exciting is the creation of a vampiric history involving a founding father. The usage of John Adams here proves unique and in a strangely entertaining way comments of not just his own legacy as part of the American origins, but larger ideas about the foundations of the nation. This is something that the vampire, Tevin, questions directly to a group of Philadelphia’s vampires.
Critically evaluating the usage of John Adams and larger themes addressed by Killadelphia is definitely an area of interest. It’ll be worth reassessing after the completion of the first volume. Suffice it to say, Adams as a vampiric figure proves more than a curiosity. He seems to provide a throughline to a central message of the book. The message seems to be that inequalities and issues that are foundational to the American societal fabric are essentially insurmountable and will continue to haunt us.
It seems vampires, here, are a metaphor for a new class of citizen who attempts to fight these inequities with little success. They end up falling into the same trappings. That is, of course, one interpretation. With what is revealed about John Adams, and the reveal of the nature Abigail Adams’ work in this issue, it seems that their vampire society isn’t really going to change much of anything. They are falling into the same trap that the United States has been continuously climbing out of for centuries now.
The machinery of capitalism is the real vampire.
The art continues to impress, particularly the inking. The book continues to have a certain textured quality. The coloring evokes mood quite well.
The paneling presents some interesting moments and while most of the “investigation” scenes play out in traditional grids, other moments stand out. Particularly intriguing are some of the tricks used to convey time in some of John Adams’ recollections. Other times, tilting the grid, such as early on in the vampire fight, does a lot to create a certain energy.
We get some interesting new character designs for some of the vampires. I am not sure how to describe it yet beyond a kind of Vampire-punk that provides a sort of cultural mishmash considering some of the vampires are over a century old. The fashion choices reflect this cultural assembly pretty well. Particularly with Adams, for example, in a sharply cut modern suit.
Killadelphia continues to be one of the freshest and most interesting horror comics on the market. Barnes’ take on the vampire is complex and nuanced. The art of Alexander and Nct also continues to dazzle resulting in one of the most visually exciting comics currently published.(5 / 5)