With a new artist onboard, can the latest instalment of mechs and mayhem book Killtopia continue its high tech rampage through the worlds of UK indie comics. Or is this reboot going to cause a system wide shutdown?
It’s never ideal when a comic changes artist half through a series. In the world of The Big Two it can usually be glossed over as part of monthly schedules, but in the world of indie comics and small press it can often lead to a dilution of the creators’s original vision. For every title that has managed the change for the better (Jed McPherson’s The Show comes to mind) some can often languish or fall apart as a result of the change in direction.
The latest series to attempt to overcome that hurdle is perennial Pipedream favourite, Killtopia by Dave Cook and Craig Paton. With co-creator Craig passing the art baton on to Frank at Home on the Farm’s Clark Bint, the good news for long time fans like us, is that every thing is going to be OK in sector K!
While we loved Craig’s meticulous and very stylised approach to the world of Killtopia (it was like Frank Quitely mixed with Geof Darrow and a glorious neon colour scheme), Clark brings to the table a kind of gonzo anarchy which looks set to take the story in a new an exciting visual direction. From the opening paragraph which sees a man enjoy a pleasure robot a bit too vigorously you know you are in for a thrill ride, with Clark having a more in your face and confrontational style which brings these moments to the fore.
It certainly suits this new chapter of the story, as our fugitive heroes Shinji, Omi and Stiletto attempt to make the most of sentient mech Crash’s ability to heal the synthetic rot which is blighting their city. Cue some absolutely mind bending Matrix style sequences, and a Shangri-La like robot utopia (as well as a big reveal about where Crash has come from), and you can’t help but wonder how anyone else other than Bint would have managed these scenes. He is definitely stepping up to the plate for this one, with his art having a less dark and scratchy approach than his previous horrific work had. And the mix of little anime cartoon characters and layers and layers of detail in every panel make this a glorious new take in this awesome world!
While it is easy to just heap praise on Clark’s art for this issue, it is still a team effort! After all, writer Dave Cook is the one creating these scenarios to make the most of Clark’s skills and he continues to write a really engaging and fascinating story full of outlandish characters and unique moments. While colourist NL Ashworth and letterer Micah Meyers continue to help bring this glorious story to life with their strong contributions. The colours, feel much more muted for this new volume for example, and while they lack the neon pinks and blues of the early issues, still have that high tech and glossy feel to it all.
Killtopia has been a perennial favourite here at Pipedream with it’s mix of cyberpunk and anime style action and British dystopian sci-fi and this continues here. The concepts are building and growing, and the characters becoming more well rounded and fleshed out with every issue. It certainly helps that each chapter is 50+ pages as it means that each dip into the world of Killtopia is a rich and rewarding one, and so the wait for the next is not so unbearable.
With new ideas and concepts being explored in this volume, this is much more than a mid series next step, it is really beginning to build the tension and develop things up to the next level. The combination of great ideas, epic world building and an exciting new artist means Killtopia is set to continue it’s awesome run as one of the most consistently inventive and exciting UK comics around!