What comes after life? This has been a question with answers depicted throughout all entertainment mediums and comics are no exception. From Heaven (Afterlife Inc) to Hell (Hellbreak), all possibilities have been written about. Well, now Reincarnation is added to that list, with Karma Police, an action story detailing a group of monks looking to stop bad souls from going to their next lives with baggage. Will this series convert readers to the faith or will it end up just dishing out bad karma?
Publisher: Comics Experience
Writer: Chris Lewis
Artist: Tony Gregori (artist), Jasen Smith (colourist), Nic J Shaw (Letterer)
Price: £2.49 per issue from ComiXology
Our rating: [star rating=”3.5″]
Karma Police tells the story of Jack, a young woman and new recruit to the Karma Grove Monastery. The Monastery is the home of a group of Buddhist Monks who offer a very specialised service; to liberate the reincarnated souls of our world from the terrible baggage that they may bring with them from their past lives. However, Jack and his mentor Dorje must put their compassionate teachings to the ultimate test when, upon a visit to help a soul, they discover a terrifying conspiracy of evil men trying to fully eliminate bad souls with a mystical knife – a knife which Jack’s past self (and Dorje’s own mentor) had in fact used to kill.
This whole concept feels very unique and makes for a really fun and action-packed series which seems to move at a breakneck pace almost from the moment it begins. Although the plot is dark (and there are some dark moments), it avoids being over-taken by this and instead opts for being great entertainment suitable for almost anyone. Writer Chris Lewis does a great job of balancing the dark and the light, but in doing so does use a lot of convoluted language which makes the plot difficult to follow at times. That said, this doesn’t take away from Lewis’ well developed lead, an eclectic roster of characters and well-paced concepts that keep the book feeling enjoyable throughout this 4 issue series.
Visually, Tony Gregori’s pencils and Jasen Smith’s colours give the book a trippy edge, with a great sense of design, especially on the covers. Karma Police is light, colorful and loud, keeping the book from feeling too sombre while providing plenty of detail in each panel to overwhelm the eyes. Nowhere is this more apparent than the two page splash reveal of the Grove, which looks completely out of this world (appropriately) with so much unusual detail, as well as the introduction to the Bush Gentleman’s Club, which reminded us of Caspar Wijngaard’s Limbo in terms of trippiness.
In fact, if there is one flaw on the art side of things it’s that the consistency dips in early issue two, however, this is a small quibble and the stand out moment of Nic J Shaw’s lettering during the 3 Grove assassins panels helps make up for that.
Despite having some problems and being a bit hard to follow in places, Karma Police is, a light-hearted, action-packed read, which presents a nice message of non-violence within its last few pages. With it’s well formed characters and stunning visuals this is most definitely a book comic fans should at least check out in this life and the next!