After infusing the indie comics scene with the dark horror of anthology The Grime and magnificent ongoing saga City of Lost Souls, one-man comics machine and strategically shaved Wookie James McCulloch has turned his hand to action with the first of a new series.
Abel (Abe) is a monkey warrior created by a secret government project that sees bioengineers creating perfect soldiers. But in the best tradition of black-ops science something is about to go terribly wrong, and few will be left standing when the dust settles.
The story is a simple one, but has you hooked from its opening moment of an in media res fight between Abe and his brother (who it’s unlikely to be much of a stretch to guess is named Cain), before jumping back to the build up toward it, as well as the personal history between the two. For a character who never speaks Abe is surprisingly expressive, with little more than the shape of his eyes and mouth required to show what he’s feeling, at least when he’s not unleashing his bestial fury upon the latest fool with the temerity to anger him.
As an action comic the most important aspect is the fight scenes, and they do not disappoint. Appearing at measured intervals, they are fast-moving bursts of brutal violence accompanied by a suitable number of explosions and striking of dramatic poses. The panel layout and angles of the images makes them feel like an assortment of stills from an action film, allowing your mind to fill in the energetic music and dynamic sound effects.
The art by Paul Johnson is instantly recognisable as coming from the guy responsible for Razor Bastard, with the characters’ bodies made of an arrangement of hexagonal composites distorted into the required shapes, while the overt stylisation is tempered by the colours of Lauren Knight, the muted shading and shadowed gore echoing her visceral work inking Saltire: Annihilation.
The beginning of a personal journey, an intriguing mystery and a buttload of asskicking, Project Genesis is a quick introduction to the world of Kid Monkey, but as soon as it’s over it immediately leaves you wanting more.
KID MONKEY #1: PROJECT GENESIS / WRITER: JAMES MCCULLOCH / ARTIST: PAUL JOHNSON, LAUREN KNIGHT / PUBLISHER: COMICHAUS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW