Killadelphia #9 Comic Review
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: Luis Nct
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Cover: Jason Shawn Alexander & Luis Nct
Variant Cover: Francesco Mattina
Burn Baby Burn Part III
The Dance of Death
What You Need to Know
We split time in this issue learning more about Jupiter’s backstory in the past while Abigail’s plan begins to come into fruition. James Sr. is back among the living, and he is not happy about it. James Jr., however, knows that the city will need his undead father if they are to have any chance at defeating whatever Abigail and her vampire followers have planned for Philadelphia and the mankind in general.
What Just Happened
The issue begins as Jupiter begins to narrate why he has committed the gruesome murders. Meanwhile, James Sr. berates James Jr. for digging him up to investigate a rapper and a politician being murdered. Elsewhere in the city, Abigail lectures Brittany on why humans must be enslaved to prevent them from destroying each other and vampires.
Jupiter reminisces on growing up on a plantation in Virginia and growing up with Thomas Jefferson. Jupiter learns how dire slavery is after his parents are sold to another plantation. As Jupiter and Thomas grow older, Thomas inherits his father’s property and builds his own while keeping Jupiter at his side. Jupiter even learns of Thomas’ infatuation with his Black Woman slaves. Jupiter sunk deeper into despair after Thomas separated his family and sold him to Abigail. After Abigail turns Jupiter, she gives him the opportunity to have his revenge on Thomas as he is in sickly state.
The story shifts back to James Sr. and James Jr. as they meet with Jose Padilla and the Lieutenant to discuss the vampires’ new strategy of creating massive panic by attacking public figures and public spaces. James Sr. deduces that the vampires are sending a message stating that anyone can be a victim at anytime, anywhere. The team visits Hell Hall but James Sr. notes that Abigail is very different from John, as she sees herself as above people and would not be hiding out in a housing project. James Sr. suggests they investigate a brothel Abigail ran in Chestnut Hill. Abigail and her followers attack the Comcast Center to cut off internet, telephone, and television connection.
Jupiter continues his story by saying that Black Woman vampires have beat him to Thomas and have already had their revenge. Jupiter almost felt sorry for Thomas but realized they were equals in death. Jupiter allowed Thomas to turn.
When the team arrives to the brothel, they are met with a horde of vampires. Jupiter turns himself in to a local police precinct and begins turning prisoners. The vampire prisoners start a riot attacking officers.
Rodney Barnes continues to keep the narrative of Killadelphia fresh by putting the spotlight on different characters. A return to the story of Jupiter is a welcome one and this issue’s strength lies in his story of how he became one of Abigail’s followers and what his personal mission is. Learning that he was at Thomas Jefferson’s side as he ascended to the presidency makes Jupiter an eyewitness to history but also to the not so presidential side of Thomas. Jupiter knew of Thomas’ perverse nature towards his female slaves. Abigail gave Jupiter the tool to channel his despair and rage into a mission of sharing his pain with those he identifies as oppressors, even if that means killing innocents along the way. Jupiter remembering his bloodline and channeling his ancestors in his dance of death is an apt metaphor for raging against the machine. Jupiter is waging war on the modern-day slavery of mass incarceration and police brutality.
This issue actually makes you want to empathize with James Sr. He finally found his personal paradise with his wife and his son calls him to the land of the living once again. James Jr., however, is beginning to earn his reputation as a resourceful detective, because he knows his father would know how a vampire thinks and behaves. James Sr. correctly deduces that Abigail’s plan is to create a sense of fear in the city and cause mass panic. James Sr’s intuition leads them to Abigail’s brothel where they are met with a nest of vampires. Hopefully the team does not meet the same fate that James Sr. did.
Abigail’s vision for her followers seems very similar to modern day terrorism and I don’t think that is by accident. Rodney Barnes has continued to use history and current events as a backdrop for this horror story. Abigail has been alive a long time and she understands what terrifies humans and beats them into submission. Her plan seems to combine the horrors of slavery with acts of terror to subjugate mankind. I wonder how the group of former slaves turned vampires will react to Abigail’s fully fleshed out plan. Tiffany in particular seems to be ready to question Abigail’s actions. Abigail first took out public figures, now her plan is to completely throw society into chaos. We as a people are so connected to technology, it would be a catastrophe if internet service went down. Abigail is counting on that theory being proven right.
With no back up story this week, we get a spotlight on Jason Shawn Alexander’s artwork. Not only is his art continuously beautiful in this issue, but some of his work added as a bonus is just as haunting and awe inspiring. Barnes and Alexander are an incredible team with great chemistry. They remind me of a great rapper/producer combo who get in the booth and create a classic album. They are on a helluva run and this book will probably go down as one of the best Image has to offer when it is all said and done.
Charater development: 9.5