Jet City Comics is a newer comics publisher in the game as an imprint of Amazon, but only a few years old and it is releasing some interesting, original and creative stories like King. Headlined by horror genre veteran writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker, Echoes, and I, Vampire) and flanked by artists Bernard Chang (The Second Life of Dr. Mirage, X-Men, and Wonder Woman) and Marcelo Maiolo (Batman Beyond, Old Man Logan, and Legendary: Pacific Rim), the first issue of King is well-formulated and inviting to a post-apocalyptic world (that doesn’t include zombies, yet).
King #1 introduces us to the last human on Earth – King – but he is not alone. Earth is now populated with hybrid species, monsters, gods, and all different kinds of grotesque riff-raff. Fortunately for King, he is a good contender in batting off everything that wants to kill or eat him, and makes it to work just ten minutes late, still cursing the Los Angeles traffic. King works for the Department of Reclamation, and as its title suggests, he reclaims things in hopes of making post-apocalyptic Earth more livable.
The job he is sent in on this Monday puts him in the most dangerous part of Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, to find the Seed of Life. The life-seed is part ghost story and part forbidden treasure. In this case, King does not find what he was sent to look for, but instead finds something else that will give the story its reoccurring storyline.
While horror writer Joshua Hale Fialkov pens the story, the horror elements are cast aside. There are elements of grit and vulgarity, but it is not in levels where those attracted to the grotesque would feel more at home. Fialkov instead melds comedic timing with an adventurous protagonist to give King a heroic bad boy persona. The same characterizations that have catapulted other relatively unknown characters like Guardians of the Galaxy’s Peter Quill. It seems relying on humor is the best way for King to get by in this hazardous world.
The artistic team of Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo work wonderful together, blending their artistic styles to create a vibrant twist on post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. The decision to give King a shield made out of a City of Los Angeles sign was a stroke of brilliance and adds to the lighter feeling this comic gives out. In the opening panels there are many side characters that are accosted and subsequently fridged, but they are memorable; from the pterodactyl-like dinosaur wearing a L.A. Fakers jersey and King’s crustacean boss. Chang and Maiolo include small nuances to their work that resounds in the reader’s mind, from a creature crawling out of a sewage drain to far off UFO’s, and a mutated chameleon selling street hot dogs to a pair of post-apocalyptic world inhabitants.
King #1 is a great work for Jet City Comics to deliver and they tapped the right talent to flesh out this strange new world. It is a strong first issue, but the cliffhanger at the end can lead to doubts that the following issues may be put on heavily trodden paths. However, with the work accomplished in this first installment, most of that fear is wasted.
King #1 can be found in-stores, on Comixology, and the Amazon Kindle Store on August 19.