Captain Cosmic’s Andy W. Clift has teamed up with his old Samurai Slasher buddys Mike Garley and Mike Stock, plus the fine folk at Comichaus to bring you a book that is at the opposite end of the comics specturm to his family friendly golden age space romp. Instead, 32 Kills is an ultra violent revenge thriller that packs more action into every page than any other comic you’ll read this year. Guaranteed. Read on to find out why!
Writer: Mike Garley
Artist: Andy W Clift, Mike Stock
Although saying this is the most action packed book of the year may sound like hyperbole, there is reason behind this (and that is more than just wanting to offer up a handy pull quote!). Clift and Garley tell their story with a sixteen panel grid throughout, which sees Clift cram violent act after violent act into every inch of every panel giving it the relentless action flow of a movie like The Raid. Add to this the crime noir grit of an Ed Brubaker comic and stylish, cartoonish art style of Darwyn Cooke or Bruce Timm comic (plus a cover from Darrick Robertson) and you get an explosive, relentless, thrill ride of a book!
With large parts of the story told wordlessly, the story nominally sees a hit woman return to her family home to exact revenge on her dad and his army of goons who she must work thought to get to him. This is counter balanced with a few heart warming scenes involving the young girl and her dad in happier times and these work as an antidote to the violence, and also the rigid 16 panels per page structure as Clift breaks the rules for these.
It’s a fascinating exercise in story telling and almost gives the book an avant garde sensibility to it – but with more gut punches and headshots. It won’t be a book for everyone, as it forgoes in-depth story telling for all out action, but that’s fine in our book. The flashbacks at least do add an element of character depth to what otherwise could have been an extended fight scene.
We are used to seeing the darker side of Garley’s world with books like Samurai Slasher and The Kill Screen and he continues that excellent form here. But after seeing his more adult work in the recent Red Rocket Comet, it is exciting to see Clift’s work get darker still and he once again shows how far he has developed as an artist in 2018. But perhaps the real star here is the long standing relationship between Clift and Garley (and also letterer Mike Stock) which sees all three push each other and with that the boundaries of action comics. They make the most of the rigid structure of the 16 panel grid to take what could have been a rod for their own backs and create something truly one of a kind!