When your reality isn’t the reality you used to know, how can you even begin to tell who your friends are?

Kino #12 ReviewKINO #12

Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Diego Galindo
Colorist: Adam Guzowski
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Lion Forge Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 19, 2018

Previously in Kino: Devlin Gilmour attempts to propose to his boyfriend and, when he goes to quiet his nerves, instead he gets into a fight with a mercenary, Clarence Coal. They have a common enemy, and their trouble has something to do with Alistair Meath. But in this world, there are apparently two Alistair’s – one who is living the perfect life, and the other who is homeless, on the outside looking in. The homeless Alistair is also dealing with energy powers that manifest when he is under stress, such as when he is attacked and beaten by three young men. And behind all of this, pulling the strings of the spider’s web, is Mister Spoke, the Foreign Secretary.

REALITY, SECRETS, AND TRUST

Kino #12 opens quietly, in the hospital where Devlin Gilmour is interviewing Mr. Ransome, one of the men who attacked Alistair and was injured by him. Devlin shows him a picture of Meath, but Ransome feels that’s clearly not him. He was attacked by a degenerate after all, not a soldier, and additionally tells Devlin he should be looking in migrant detention centers. Two more agents arrive. They’re from the Home Office, and have specified that Ransome has no visitors. Devlin leaves, and Ransome makes a comment about how he’s finally dealing with, “proper Englishmen,” by which he seems to mean, “not black.” Devlin keeps this to himself, but is not above keying the other agents’ car.

Along the river, Patricia Meath, carrying the bag with the carved dog goes to a homeless camp looking for Alistair, who is still with Gabby. Patricia shows them the dog and that she recognizes it as an old family dog. Gabby slaps it out of her hand into the river, but Patricia picks it up and insists she needs to talk with Alistair – alone. She needs to know if he was sending her a message from her husband. At this, Alistair breaks down and tells her it’s him and asks her to really look at him and see him for who he is.

At the same time, Meath is taking a plane out. His two children are in the tower listening to the conversation between the air controller and Meath. Ellie is worried about him, but everyone else assumes he’ll be fine. It’s going well, and he wants to take the jet up to Mach 1. He does, and there’s a crackle of energy, the fuselage starts buckling, and he has to bail.

When this happens, he’s also in Alistair’s head, and Alistair starts flickering with energy. Around him, things start crumbling, and Patricia immediately thinks about the subsidence in their home. Gabby takes this opportunity to drive her away, even while Alistair says he doesn’t want her to go.

We cut to a quiet moment with Devlin and Eduardo, when the doorbell rings. It’s plainly someone from the government, and Devlin tells Eduardo to pack a suitcase, check into a specific hotel and wait for him. He steps out and is told his boss wants a word, but not, as it turns out, his actual boss. Mister Spode is in the car. He basically tells Devlin that he’s going across town to turn in his resignation. He also has a photo of Devlin with Clarence Coal. Devlin accuses him of purging him. Spode says he prefers to think of it as a deep clean. “We have to be whiter than white in this day and age, after all.” Spode is creepy, and his language can easily be read in a couple of ways, and it sure seems like he means it.

After sundown, Alistair confronts Gabby, asking why she sent Patricia away. He feels Patricia knew him. Gabby tries to sow some doubt. She also hints that he could be something more than just Alistair Meath. She’s brought him to the docks where some human traffickers are bringing people off a container ship. She manipulates him into confronting them. When they shoot him, it doesn’t hurt him, and she tells him to absorb the kinetic energy from them and release it against his attackers. He does this, and there is an apparent off-panel killing.

Gabby’s accent changes, and she brings up a car and takes Alistair across town, offering him a drink. She takes him to a house in Chelsea, and does not come in with him. He is directed to the drawing room where a grinning Mister Spode asks him if he knows what a “sin-eater” is. I was horrified. Spode is probably the worst possible person for Alistair to have to face right now. This sent chills down my spine.

THE SUBTLETY OF THE THRILLER

The art of Kino #12 is clean and crisp, and a lot of the storytelling is accentuated with people’s expressions. They’re really well depicted here, from Mr. Ransome at the start with his barely contained contempt to Patricia’s intensity and earnestness. But what really started getting to me early on was Spode. He always has a smile on his face, one that never reaches his eyes. And he’s never talking about anything pleasant. I got the feeling that he was someone who enjoyed having others around him suffer, but this sort of person is just terrifying. He makes me viscerally uncomfortable.

Alistair continues to be a tragic figure. He’s homeless, he really wants to talk to Patricia, but he also feels like he’s going mad. He trusts Gabby because she’s probably the first person who’s been kind to him and treats him with some understanding. In the last issue, we already saw that she was up to something, and to see her here, manipulating Alistair, was also chilling. How tenuous the threads of trust are, especially in a world where it is so easy to feel paranoid.

BOTTOM LINE: A GRIPPING CHAPTER FROM START TO FINISH

Characters are made interesting to us by the choices that they make, and Kino #12 really shows us what this means. No one has easy choices. As the reader, we have the benefit of seeing when characters make choices that are bound to cause them problems, and we cringe. But this is also what brings us back for more.

Kino #12

100%
100%
A Gripping Chapter

Characters are made interesting to us by the choices that they make, and Kino #12 really shows us what this means. No one has easy choices. As the reader, we have the benefit of seeing when characters make choices that are bound to cause them problems, and we cringe. But this is also what brings us back for more.

  • Writing
    10
  • Art
    10
  • Coloring
    10
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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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