Killadelphia #7 Comic Review
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist/Colorist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Cover: Jason Shawn Alexander & Luis Nct
Variant Cover: Skottie Young
Burn Baby Burn Part I
“It’s Our New Normal”
What You Need to Know
It’s been 6 months since John Adams’ failed vampire takeover of Philadelphia. With Adams’ and most of his minions dead thanks to the Sangster family and coroner Jose Padilla, Adams’ wife Abigail and some of Adams’ loyal followers hide in the shadows. James Sangster, Jr. knows retaliation is coming, and Abigail Adams’ plan for Philadelphia and the world is more ruthless than anything John Adams could conceive.
What Just Happened
The issue takes place 6 months after John Adams’ attack on Philadelphia. The vampire attack on Philadelphia was considered an act of “domestic terrorism” but special ops are in place to kill any remaining vampires in the city. Detective Sangster remains in Philadelphia waiting for what’s left of President Adams inner circle to show themselves.
Meanwhile, Abigail Adams and the rest of Adams’ most loyal followers have holed up at Bunker Hill. Abigail preaches that John’s idea of true democracy was a mistake and money drives the country. Abigail tells a story of when she and John first returned to America after they became vampires. While John was trying to regain power among his peers, Abigail took interest in one of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves, Jupiter. Jupiter wears a halo mask and has been numb to the world since his family was sold off. Abagail buys Jupiter from Jefferson and turns him, but Jupiter continues to remain closed off. Abagail decided to wait until Jupiter eventually released himself from his pain and give in to his vampire power. One night a group of robbers enter the Adams home and Jupiter finally lets himself go and tears them apart. Abigail finds Jupiter covered in blood and a look of shame, but Abigail reassures him that he did a good thing.
James spends time with police coroner Jose Padilla who questions their relationship, while James wonders if he can fill his father’s shoes. James and Jose agree they want the relationship to work.
Back at Bunker Hill, Toppy wonders what Abigail’s plan is after John’s plan failed. Toppy wants to kill every last human while Abigail wonders what they will do for blood if that happens. Toppy wonders what sacrifices Abigail has made and Abigail lashes out and reminds him that John is dead. Abigail’s plan involves using Jupiter to kill powerful people in the Philadelphia community to promote fear. Jupiter starts with the governor of Pennsylvania. James is scared to face these vampires alone without his father but is called into action and finds the body of the governor torn apart and crucified.
This issue has a backup story that takes place during the Watts riots in 1962. As a radio broadcast describes the civil unrest in the streets, an unknown Black woman wakes up on the Santa Monica Pier with no memory of who she is or where she is. A police officer approaches her, and she asks him for his help. The police officer decides to bring her into the station for questioning. As the woman looks at the full moon she changes into a werewolf and tears the police office apart.
Killadelphia transitions into its next storyline as the Philly recovers from John Adams’ vampire attack. I appreciate how Rodney Barnes continues to ground this series in realism as the official response to this attack is that has been deemed a terrorist attack. Of course, the government would not want to cause panic in people by saying vampires attacked a major US city. I also enjoy Barnes’ characterization of James Sangster Jr. He has been shaken by recent events and now with his father officially gone, he has to figure out how he can handle a potential vampire uprising on his own. James has the support of Jose, but they both seem like 2 damaged souls who happen to be coping with a traumatic event together. I look forward to how this relationship will be fleshed out in future issues.
Where this issue shines, is when the focus shifts to Abigail Adams and her followers. Abigail’s story about Jupiter is both fascinating and heartbreaking. Rodney Barnes is able to effortlessly tie the horrors of slavery with the gothic horror of vampirism. Jupiter is an exciting new character who barely has any lines of dialogue, but his very presence draws you in. Especially when it is revealed that Jupiter will be Abigail’s tool of destruction in the present.
This is the first issue of Killadelphia that contains a backup story. The story taking place during the Watts riots of 1962 continues the theme of Rodney Barnes weaving tales that intersect historical events. The backup story also introduces what I think will be werewolves to the story, even though the woman may have been a shapeshifting vampire. I don’t know what her story is, but I feel she may be integral going forward.
Jason Shawn Alexander continues to knock it out of the park with his artwork. Alexander is the perfect artist for a horror comic and he’s becoming one of my favorite artists in the industry. Alexander’s patterns are haunting and horrific. His depictions of violence are striking and leave nothing for interpretation. Alexander’s panels depicting slavery leaped out to me the most as there was a juxtaposition between the horrors of slavery and the evils of vampirism.