Killadelphia Volume One TPB Review

by Wes Greer on June 30, 2020

Writer – Rodney Barnes
Art – Jason Shawn Alexander
Color – Luis NCT
Letters – Marshall Dillon

July is shaping up to be one of the biggest months for comic releases so far this year. With so many incredible stories across different publishers getting ready to swing into full gear, there is a lot of excitement to be had. However, one of the biggest releases this month isn’t coming in the form of a single issue but rather in the form of a collected trade. Killadelphia Volume One, “Sins of the Fatjer” is die to hit retailer shelves on July 14th and for me, this is one of the most exciting books being released this month.  Killadelphia was a series I had come across when issue number one was released but I was waist deep in other books at the time and had missed the first couple issues. Then we had all comics come to a haiku because of the current COVID-19 pandemic which as terrible as that has been it really gave me time to go back and pick up some books I had missed. Number one on that list of course being Killadelphia.

I went searching the internet looking for first printings of issue #1 because at the time everyone else was doing the same thing and going back and picking up back issues as no new books were being released. Luckily, I happened across the issue and as soon as it arrived I was drawn to it like a moth to the flame. I had recognized the writers name from his time working on Marvel Comics Falcon Take Flifht series as well as his TV credits but didn’t know much more about him. The name on the book I did know I loved for sure was Jason Shawn Alexander as I have been a huge Spawn fan since I was a kid and had come to be blown away by his work on the series. There is just something so special about the way Alexander does his art and there is no other artists out there that even comes close to the same kind of style so I was immediately drawn to the art of the issue. I of course immediately fell in love with the issue but came up short when looking into the rest of the issues and was going to trade wait the rest. I was on twitter ramping up the series and talking with other fans when I was approached by Rodney Barnes himself who reached out and ended up sending me the rest of the issues himself so I could get into the series and help spread the word even more and from that moment on I knew there was something special about this writer. I have talked to a lot of comic creators through working at this site but only one or two other ones have been as kind and willing to go out of their way to reach out like that and remain in close contact and with how huge this story has become it just really shows the love Barnes has for this story and it shows as readers have made this one of this years too comic stories overall. 

This trade collects the entire first story arc which is titles “Sins of the Father” which spans issues number one through issue number six which was just released a few weeks ago. The series revolves around several characters whose fates ultimately all come together to effect the outcome of the story. What starts as an already dark time in the city of Philadelphia takes us down an even darker and twisted road where the streets of the city are running with blood and as Barnes takes us down the path of each character we come to find out that it’s not only due to brutal killings in the streets but that Philly is actually home to Vampires who have come to feed on its population. The brutal killings and vampire attacks cause the Cory to be nicknamed Killadelphia and as Barnes takes us down the this road, we learn there is no better name for the city of death.  This story is so much more then your average Vampire story though. Barnes really does a stellar job at exploring each character we meet through the first six issues, giving us not only a lot of foundation for each one but building upon the foundation and exploring their emotional growth as the story progresses. Barnes even finds a way to give us a more human side of the main vampires in the story and makes them so much more then just monsters. At the same time Barnes also explores the human characters deeper and shows is that they may have a little more monster in themselves as they have to each overcome their own obstacles in their lives as they progress and try to rid the city of the actual monsters. We are taken on such a deep and emotional roller coaster as the story progresses leading up to an incredible and heart felt final issue where a chapter ends for one of our main characters but begins a new one for his son who know realizes it is on him to finish his fathers work and rid the city of the vampires who are trying to take over. There is no other horror comic out there that I’ve read that has hit me in the feels like this one and it’s honestly one of the greatest stories I’ve read, not just comic wise but all time. It’s heart pounding and emotional and just all around entertaining madness that pulls on the heart strings and I will not be surprised at all next year when this creative team is nominated for as many Eisner awards as possible.
On the other side of this series we see an incredible art team. Jason Shawn Alexander is on his own already one of the most elite artists out there. Not just in comics but in overall art which really sets him apart from other comic artists out there. In comics we become accustomed to the normal superhero comic style sketches and although those serve a great purpose in your normal big two stories, Alexander delivers us from that standard and really is able to bring emotion to a story based solely on his art style. You can look at all the covers of the individual issues and even though the only words written in them are the title Killadelphia, his art brings the essence of the story to life and we can read so much more about it with no words given to us at all. His art sells emotions on its own and then when you pair that to the script of Barnes we are given the greatest visual story ever told in a comic book. I can honestly say that through out the hundreds of comics that I have reviewed here at comics the gathering that there has never been a book more emotional and telling based on the art itself. Even when Alexander was working on Spawn I could feel the emotion of his work but not to the same level as Killadelphia. I think that’s because with Spawn we already know the foundation that Todd McFarlane created with the character so we already expect dark and emotional art to go along with him but with this story we don’t know what kind of foundation or background we are going into and when we get there, we are left speechless and mesmerized ultimately by the pair and that’s what makes this story stand apart from any others out there. While Alexander’s art gives off that style like we are trapped inside a nightmare inside of our own heads, Luis NCT is the magic maker who truly adds the final touch with his incredible colors and brilliant darks that really emphasizes the tones of Alexander’s original works. We honestly could not have asked for a more in sync art team as you can tell the two really have found their niche at bringing the visuals together and creating the magic they have through the art of this series. As time has gone on we can see it unfold before our eyes as issue by issues the detail and colors really fine tuned itself and when we think it can possibly get any better the next issue drops and we are left stunned. The art alone literally paints the picture of the story but with NCT’s colors, it adds the emotion of the work and that is why we can’t take our eyes off the art as we read the captions on each page going back and forth between the two, never taking our eyes off the pages. 
There are almost no words I can use to describe the art styles of this book other then a beautiful nightmare that we don’t want to wake up from.

Killadelphia has really been the one comic that I’ve read this year that just leaves me with my jaw on the floor every issue and gets the blood pumping and then pulls on my emotions which is exactly the kind of thing we as readers are looking for in a story. We want the total emotional ride and this is the one story out there that delivers on every single thing we look for in a horror genre comic book as well as any comic book in general. If you have not read Killadelphia yet, I highly suggest you take the opportunity to pick up this first collected trade and jump in. I promise you once you start on page one you will not be able to put it down until you’ve read all six issues. If you have read Killadelphia I also encourage you to pick up this trade as it is not only jist a beautiful book that Image has put together but you can go back and read through the story again and again all in one go and relive all the incredible heart pounding entertainment that this creative team has created for us. Killadelphia Volume One is available for purchase on July 14th so if you haven’t already, preorder it or call your local shop to have them set one aside for you. You don’t want to wait until release day because this is going to fly off the shelves quick. I’m so grateful to Rodney Barnes and Jason Shawn Alexander who have been great to speak with and if you haven’t already, be sure to read my interview with Rodney on the site. If you have something you want to say about Killadelphia or if you are as excited as me, be sure to leave a comment in the comment section below. You never know who might respond to you there.

-Wes Greer

Our Score:


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