Creator and Writer: Brian Hawkins
Pencils/Artist: Aris Gonzales
Inker: Charlie Alwa
Alternate history is a device that is well used in superhero comics, yet rarely is it done within real world situations, the only book I can remember in recent times is Jonathan Hickman’s East of West (and that’s more a sci-fi story). Which is why I was curious to read Brain Hawkins & Aris Gonzales America’s Kingdom, a story set in an alternate America, where the democracy of the founding fathers never came to pass and instead a monarchy from the descendants of George Washington rose to power.
This first issue shows us a small glimpse of this kingdom, allowing Hawkins to establish some of the key players within this world. From the instantly unlikeable Prince Geoffrey to the looming threat of Peerless Fontaine and the insurrectionists vying to turn America into the democracy it was always meant to be. Hawkins balances his cast very well allowing the reader a great introduction to this world he will undoubtedly build up in future issues, yet also introducing us to couple of plot threads that will allow us to explore just what this America is about and who the major players are.
One of the things I found particularly interesting is that in this country, guns are outlawed (which is sure to become a major plot point) and knights work for the monarch in helping ensure peace across the realm. It was fantastic juxtaposition of a man being chased down on motorbike by men on horseback with bows and swords; the imagery is striking and really fits within the story.
The art from Ares Gonzales and inks from Charlie Sansalone Always is great for the story they are telling. The scenes that include horseback chases and the ilk have a great sense of movement with tense moments thanks to great panel usage around the page. Characters are really well drawn particular care when reading this book must be taken when reading Prince Geoffrey’s facial expressions, which can instantly go from happy, to unhinged and downright evil the next, really echoing Hawkins’ script that this is a man who is truly corrupted by the power that he wields.
The only issue that I had with this book over all was the lack of colour, this may have been a creative choice however, and in certain scenes I feel that the grandeur of the occasion is lost without the addition of colour. For example one scene in a ballroom that is meant to be the gathering Dukes and Duchess’ of the kingdom seems diminished somewhat without regal gold’s, purples etc. to signify these as the nobility of the realm. As said it may have been a creative choice however, in a scene such as this the lack of colour really stood out at the point.
Overall America’s Kingdom is a really well written and drawn comic, the premise may not be for everyone yet Hawkins’ creates a really interesting world with plenty of places to go as this series plays out. It hooks you in with great writing making you want to know just why America ended up this way and why the insurrectionists want to bring back democracy.
By Matt Deery
Check out the project and show it some support on kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2034498242/americas-kingdom-issue-1-print-run