Killadelphia #8 Comic Review
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist/Colorist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Cover: Jason Shawn Alexander & Luis Nct
Variant Cover: Bill Sienkiewicz
Burn Baby Burn Part II
Oh So Close…
What You Need to Know
Abigail Adams’ plan for Philadelphia is coming to fruition as she is using her vampire flock to spread fear and dread throughout the city. James Jr. feels in over his head, and he was not prepared for the vampires to return to make their mark on the city. In the afterlife, James Sr. feels like he can finally go to his final resting place, but the life you lead has a funny way of following you in death.
What Just Happened
We start this issue with James Sangster Sr. lamenting his death and how easy it was for him to die and accept his death. James Sr. hopes to reunite with his wife in the afterlife. In the land of the living, James Jr. and Jose investigate the Governor’s death at his mansion, and James Jr. realizes the vampires have returned.
James Sr. meets Charon in the afterlife who informs him that he ferries dead souls to their final resting place, but because James Sr. is undead, he is a complication. Charon knows where James Sr’s wife, Gloria, is but is not sure James Sr. can reunite with her.
At Abigail’s hideout, Toppy is restless and does not feel the Governor’s death will have the effect that is needed. Abagail reassures him that the Governor was only part of her plan and the next step is using Jupiter once again to strike fear into the people. This time, at a concert featuring a big time artist. At Jose’s office, she deduced the Governor’s death, was not the result of trying to turn him or to feed, it was meant to terrorize as Jupiter’s saliva was not found in the Governor’s blood stream.
Charon ferries James Sr. through what looks like Hell and finds Mayor Gaskins burning in what looks like the River Styx
Toppy and the young child vampire infiltrate the Wells Fargo Center and murder the security, allowing Jupiter to enter the arena. Jupiter then murders the rapper while he is performing on stage in front of a capacity audience.
Charon takes James Sr. to reunite with his wife. Gloria forgives James Sr. for how he mistreated her and James Jr. Before James Sr. can continue his reconciliation with Gloria, James Sr. gets called back to Earth by James Jr., as James Jr. has dug up his father’s grave again.
This issue contains the second part of the backup story. North African conquerors travel to Sicily to take it over. The leader of the group of warriors is named Zubiya, who traveled with Affan, Jabir, and Najih. The conquerors travel to the land of Queen Gaetana, who is suspected of practicing witchcraft. Before they execute her, Queen Gaetana curses them to live as werewolves. The warriors transform into werewolves and conquer Sicily and return to their homeland. The story fast forwards to Compton in 1967. Angela, who we met last issue, wanders into a bar and informs the bartender that she feels she is supposed to be there. The bartender greets Angela as Zubiya and welcomes her to the revolution.
There’s not much else I can say to praise the book more than I have. Killadelphia is the premier horror book in the comic book industry right now. For this issue in particular, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of James Sr. accepting his death and looking to move on into the afterlife, and James Jr. struggling with his life and the emerging vampire threat. Rodney Barnes utilizes a charming mythological touch by including Charon the ferryman to the afterlife in this issue. James Sr. and Charon’s philosophical conversation about the afterlife was a highlight for me.
James Sr. struggling with the fact that the vampires have returned to terrorize Philadelphia made sense to me as this is a man used to dealing with practical problems, faced with a supernatural threat he is not equipped to handle. I just wish coroner Jose Padilla is given more to do and is not just used for medical exposition and as James Jr’s love interest. Jose got to kick some vampire tail in the first couple of issues of this book and I would like to see do more.
Abigail’s plan for Philadelphia seems to be to put the fair into the hearts of Philadelphians and it is working so far. The Governor’s murder was just the start of her reign of terror. I am interested to see if Toppy becomes so frustrated with her tactics that he just ends up turning on her. Jupiter remains a terrifying, yet tragic figure. Toppy, Jupiter, and the other Black vampires in this book make you want to hate them, but they also make you sympathize with their plight of being victims of White Supremacy, even while having eternal life. Jupiter only seems to be alive when he is killing, using his supernatural abilities that shows him that he has power. Abigail gave Jupiter the power he has, and he remains loyal to her even though he still is in bondage as her servant and personal assassin. This form of bondage for him is better than the bondage of slavery.
I also found Jason Shawn Alexander’s depiction of Hell very interesting. Hell in this book is just a city on fire which is a very apt description when real life feels like our cities are on fire and burning due to injustice literally and figuratively. Seeing the mayor who collaborated with John Adams, literally burning was a nice touch. James Sr., also reuniting with his wife, Gloria, was also a nice development in an otherwise bleak issue. It’s just too bad that James Jr. doesn’t seem to be able to handle the vampire threat on his own. James Sr. is not happy about being exhumed from his final resting place, but he is going to be needed to fight back the darkness.
We get a ton of new backstory in the 2nd part of the backup story that began the last issue. Lycanthropy seems to be an ancient curse passed on by a witch onto African warriors. It also seems like the curse brought on these warriors also made them immortal. Angela, who we met last issue as the woman who washed up on the beach, meets a familiar face who may be the key to her remembering who she is.
Jason Shawn Alexander continues to be perfection on this book. Haunting images of brutal violence are both jarring and beautiful at the same time. As stated earlier, Alexander’s take on Hell is modern but still gives you a sense of dread of what becomes those people that end up down there. Alexander is also great at depicting extreme violence. Jupiter, Toppy, and other vampires ripping through people is a wild sight, but Alexander makes it look great. We also get a few very interesting Easter Eggs in this issue. The FBI agents and Blake Scott resemble high profile, real life people that we see in our pop culture. I hope everyone who reads this issue is able to catch them.