REVIEW: KISS #1

I’ve got to be careful in this review because I’m not only dealing with a Kiss comic; I’m dealing with an entire Kiss army. The fan support for everything Kiss has been strong since the bands early days in 1971 when Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were playing in their first band Wicked Lester. The core four band members would be set in 1973 and the rest is rock history.

Kiss has cemented its place in the pantheon of ROCK, still selling out shows across the globe, with more gold records (30 as of this writing) than any other rock group in history. So it stands to reason that Kiss has endured the test of time in pop culture. It also stands to reason that Kiss will remain part of the social consciousness long after the band itself is gone. Enter the comic.

Our story is set 468 years in the future after the Great War. (This event is projected to take place during the 2030’s)The aftermath of the war has left the surface of our world uninhabitable and the environment destroyed. Humanity has no other option than to move deep underground into giant man-made cities. It’s in one of these cities called Blackwell that our story begins.

This is a tale about 4 teens that are in search of freedom from their cult-like culture. They dare to ask about the surface and thanks to a map found in an abandoned library they start to explore the outer reaches of the city. It’s through these explorations that the group stumbles across ancient paintings depicting four faces in white and decorative face paint. These images keep showing up as the teens move through the cities ventilation shafts. Until they discover what appear to be an ancient and abandoned church. One of the teens accidentally activates the technology inside the church and a giant 3-D image of Kiss looms over the room as the issue ends.

This story seems overly complex for a comic about the world’s greatest rockers, but then again it is only the first issue and I don’t know where this is all heading. This might be a long prelude to a much more involved tale about the legacy of Rock and how it leads to free of the mind. It could also mean that these four teens could become the current embodiment of Kiss. I’m unsure where we are going.

I do know that the teens in the first issue are all pretty much the same flat character, outside of gender and hair color there is nothing that really set them apart. They move as a group, argue as a group, and look like a group of nondescript characters that need more individual definition. Again, this might be coming in the following issues, but for now the cast falls flat.

The art was serviceable, although I expected a little more flash and pizzazz from a kiss comic. For a band that has made their careers off of strong imagery you would expect the same from their comic. That’s not so much the case here. The art is choppy, unrefined, and at times murky.

There is a component to this issue that I don’t usually have to address in reviews these days which is the coloring. The coloring on this comic is a distraction. There are multiple pages where faces have uneven flash tones just slapped across them. The job looks rushed and it takes away from the over-all enjoyment of the issue. If Boom wants to improve the sales of this book, I think that they might want to find a different colorist, because Schimerys Baal ain’t cutting it!

Final Thoughts: Kiss is back in comics. Given the band’s history with the medium I expected more and got a lot less. This is the same band that once shut down an entire city when they put some of their own blood in the printer’s ink of their first Marvel comic. That kind of showmanship is sorely lacking in this offering. While I’m glad to see that the band has returned to the medium it would have been nice to have my face rocked off by the sheer magnitude of awesomeness that is KISS. Instead I’ll have to make due with an average comic and subpar coloring.

Final Grade: 2 ½ Stars

Kiss #1
Story: Amy Chu
Art: Kewber Baal
Colors: Schimerys Baal
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Dynamite

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