Review: KISS: Blood and Stardust #1

   If you look at all of the rock bands throughout history, I don’t think any band is better at merchandising itself than KISS.  Admittedly, I grew up in KISS’ heyday, but they are still going strong today.  As of last week the band has announced that their upcoming tour will be their last.  However, KISS fans have heard that before.  In the meantime, the first piece of KISS merchandise I ever saw was a lunch box owned by Mike Painter, the punky kid who sat next to me in second grade.  Since then I’ve seen action figures, makeup, toilet paper, condoms and even a coffin; all officially licensed KISS merchandise.  KISS also has a long history in comic books dating back to the seventies but this was my first time ever reading one…and it was good!  I opened the book like one might drive by a garish Halloween display.  I was curious to see what was going on.  After I was finished with the book, I was left wondering what was up next for the KISS Demon and his crew.

The book follows KISS in Los Angeles during the seventies.  The premise of the book is that something evil is lurking in Los Angeles and plotting to take over the world.  As a native of Southern California, I don’t think that is too far of a stretch.  However, this book introduces us to an Angeleno singer/vampire named Johnny Monson who is in a symbiotic relationship with The Illuminati in a bid for world domination.  Since this is the first issue the writers have not yet fleshed out this plot but they have established that Monson is free to cavort with The Illuminati because they protect him from Lillith, the demon queen of vampires.  As KISS finishes their set (and brings down the house) they board their tour bus and hit the open road, still in full makeup mind you.  Lillith, incredibly put out that Monson has not only exceeded her grasp but is plotting to dominate the world without her, causes a car crash that kills KISS and sends them to hell.  That’s right, KISS dies and they go to hell.  As you might expect, Lillith lets them in on the secret; LA is full of vampires, werewolves and other assorted monsters that go bump in the night.  Then she gives the boys her pitch.  Related imageShe wants them to return topside as her supernatural agents of change and do a little butt kicking on behalf of herself and everyone put out by what is going on in the ironically named City of Angels.  They can of course refuse, I mean how bad could hell be?  Thus, minus some odds and ends to set up the story arc to come, the book ends.

This book is entertaining, well drawn and full of promise for the future.  The likeness of each member of the band is captured impeccably in the pages of the book.  The artwork is solid, clean and complements the story well.  Meanwhile, the writers have taken the KISS brand and placed it on top of what appears to be an adventure/horror hybrid book in the vein of the original Buffy The Vampire Slayer.  Let’s call it Gene Simmons the Vampire Slayer.  I enjoyed the book and if you are looking for something different that is fun to read I recommend this one to you.

Writing – 4 of 5 Stars
Art – 4 of 5 Stars
Color – 4 of 5 Stars

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Writer – Bryan Hill
Artist – Rodney Buchemi
Color – Adriano Augusto
Letterer – Troy Peteri