Kino #15 Review: No Hell Below Us
We’re back with “Kino” #15, and as before … He’s the Kinetic Impulse Neoterrestrial Operative!
And shit is completely out of control.
Except not quite the way you’d think.
Story: Alex Paknadel
Art: Diego Galindo
Colors: Valentina Pinto
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Lion Forge
What Paknadel is doing with politics in “Kino” #15 is deceptively simple, because on the surface what we have is a close allegory of our current, cheerfully neo-fascist times. Digging a level deeper, the neatness of Casey’s Golden and Silver Age conceit serves just as nicely as we rocket into the present. After all, isn’t it the mythical wartime boom and ethnic, moral purity of the ‘40s and ‘50s we’re all trying to get back to? Wasn’t it the best time for the Western world when our manufacturing dominated the markets in the decades afterward?
Not all of us, and no, it wasn’t.
Paknadel’s Meath is paralyzed by his new role and reeling from recent events. He barely has had time to stitch his personality into the right body, much less deal with the simulation-to-living-nightmare scenario he’s traversed for the past handful of issues. He knows what Spode and company are doing is wrong, but he’s at a loss as to how to stop it. And, deep down, he’s hunting for those same glory days of his sanitized fantasy family, much as the political regime tries to regress the future.
Add in the continued buddy cop adventure of Dev and Coal and we’ve got a fine first issue in our second Kino arc. Paknadel knows how to mix humor and grim truth to balance each for maximum impact, and his skills only get better over time.
Galindo’s art is solid, with some nice command of panel stacking that’s developed over time and a sweet Dev and Coal splash to lighten the intellectual load of this issue. Galindo does Spode exceedingly well, and there are all sorts of ghoulish little close-ups with high-contrast shadows to heighten tension and remind us that he’s well aware, ladies and gentlemen. He just doesn’t care. Paknadel packs this issue with a large cast, and Galindo does well with enough details and unique features for each character to help us keep track of everyone. Meath’s new costume is sleek, cool and very apropos, and also gives him just a touch of softness in line with his less dynamic, confused self. And, as usual, the style switch from reality to Meath’s memories of his family is complementary while adding enough unique and chillingly wholesome dimension to amp up the visual interest.
Pinto’s colors are very nice, with a suitably pastel, muted palette for the grim reality Meath and the Brits have to navigate and some vibrant pops for the simulation/memory panels. There are also a few nice touches in the scenes where Meath starts to lose control of his powers in the psych office, and a lot of good detail and texturing on the metal balls as they begin to move and spark. Pinto also adds some grit and texture to single color backgrounds that complement Galindo’s moody inks and crosshatching. And, finally, Coal’s eye remains a focal point on the page because Pinto draws the saturation down appropriately, with just a few more key colors to add flavor.
Campbell’s lettering is economical and his sound effects outlined in an appropriate grey, as if even the action in this issue lacks the life to contend with Spode and his agenda. Campbell also adds some nice subtle style to the whispered dialogue, and the main font boasts just a hint of shakiness around the edges. The balloons have a nice drawn style and an added ragged effect when Meath’s struggling to deal with his family the morning after.
“Kino” #15 is a fine opener for another arc in Meath’s story. He’s put himself back together – barely – and now has to deal with the fallout of a government trying to turn back the clock to the glory days that never really existed … at the expense of everything we’ve gained since. Meath’s got a lot to figure out, and with Paknadel, Galindo, Pinto and Campbell at the helm, it’s going to be a lot of dark fun along the way.
“Kino” #15 drops this NCBD, and is a perfect time to hop on if you haven’t been reading yet. If you have, let’s give our broke-down RAF hero a warm welcome back, eh? He’s going to need all the help he can get.