Springing out of the pages of Dark Horse Presents the magical denizens of King’s Road take charge in the debut issue of the new miniseries. Is it good?
King’s Road #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
Created by writer Peter Hogan and artist Phil Winslade, King’s Road first debuted as shorts within the pages of the anthology series Dark Horse Presents. King’s Road #1 features all of that material in addition to another full issue’s worth of material.
The issue opens as two men and a dog watch scan a house for sight of movement. Their quarry catches their eye as a demon creeps from the roof and into the house. What follows is a series of revelations as a demonic army prepares to invade the suburbs in order to take out a rival family.
Get off my lawn
Peter Hogan’s script in King’s Road #1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The first half of the issue was originally presented in smaller sections, and so the pacing of the issue feels slightly off-kilter in terms of what one might normally expect for a double-sized issue. This isn’t a big detractor, but it is readily apparent which bits of dialogue where used as cliffhangers in the shorter format. That being said, there are some interesting ideas and reveals, such as just why the family dog is in on the adventure.
Where the issue falls flat though, is in the characters. While seeing this family unit being sucked into a fantasy world, the pacing of the story doesn’t really allow for the readers to know them beyond an archetypal level. Part of the reason for this is that the characters are introduced into the story as the magical elements break into their world. Without a sense of who these characters were before these developments, it’s hard for readers to see just how it’s affecting the cast.
“One of the earliest carnivores, we now know Dilophosaurus is poisonous…”
The art of King’s Road #1 is split between two teams. Series co-creator Phil Winslade handled the art for the reprinted Dark Horse Presents material, while Staz Johnson and color artist Douglas Sirois handle the second half of the issue. Though the two styles are different in execution, Johnson and Sirois are able to match the tone of Winslade’s art allowing for a consistent feel across the issue.
Winslade’s lines work well for both the chaotic action sequences as well as the quieter, more emotive moments, capturing every detail in the characters’ faces as they react to the developments around them. Using paints for the colors lend a warmth to the more intimate scenes while adding a timeless quality to the fantasy sequences. One issue is that in the interior scenes that are often dialogue heavy, the monochromatic nature of the backgrounds sometimes overwhelms the page and makes the scene monotonous.
The new material is done by artists Staz Johnson and Douglas Sirois. Johnson’s linework carries an energy about it that really lends itself to the action sequences, and the bewitched amusement park provides for some entertaining foes for the protagonists to battle. Douglas Sirois’ colors give the story a good atmosphere, with small horror elements backing the fantasy story. Most of his portion of the issue is made up of nighttime blues and foggy grays, so when Sirois gets a chance to add some pop with an interdimensional portal, he goes full throttle with greens that are bursting with energy. It’s a really nice touch that helps sell the moment in the story.
Is It Good?
King’s Road #1 packs quite a bit of material within it’s cover. For both readers new to this world as well as those who followed through Dark Horse Presents, the issue has enough content to make for a satisfying read. Unfortunately, King’s Road #1 is hindered by its characters who aren’t realized enough to match the interesting premise. This flaw isn’t completely fatal to the comic, as there’s enough visually interesting material, but for readers to buy into the stakes of the story, the characters have to make a stronger impression. Ultimately, King’s Road #1 is an entertaining debut whose execution doesn’t quite break the mold enough to make it stand from the pack.
King’s Road #1 goes on sale on February 10, 2016.