Kino #14

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Another Stunning Chapter

Kino #14 rewards the reader who has been following the plot all along. It is a complicated story, well thought out, and with a truly reprehensible villain who is all the more so because at his core, he acts like powerful people in our real world do. He is horrifying because he is plausible.

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Alistair Meath’s memories and powers return to him, but at what cost to him…and to his country?

Kino #14 ReviewKINO #14

Writer: Alex Paknadel
Artist: Diego Galindo
Colorist: Adam Guzowski
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: The Lion Forge, LLC
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 27, 2019

Previously in Kino: After the accident with his plane, Alistair Meath is in the hospital and grounded from flying. To top things off, his wife Patricia admits that she is afraid of him. She shows him the dog figurine carved by the other Alistair Meath and he recalls nothing about her dog. Mister Spode has brought the homeless Meath (Myers) to his office and tells him he’s the real Meath; it is an imposter living in his house, and he fits him with a VR helmet. Meath finds himself as Kino, fighting his double Motu. Meanwhile, Gilmour has broken into a facility trying to locate more information on Kino, but is caught. As to why he was doing this, apparently, Meath can absorb and redirect not only any physical trauma but perhaps any psychological trauma. Coal shows up and helps Gilmour to escape to a London on fire – Meath’s mind may be in a VR world, but in his virtual fight, he is destroying the city.

A QUIET SHIFT IN POWER AS LONDON BURNS

As Kino #14 begins, we now know that Alistair Meath had shed his memories for a time, giving them, and his trauma, and his powers, to a homeless man. That man, named Myers, believes himself to be Meath. Whispering in his ear like a devil on his shoulder, Mister Spode encourages this belief not directly, but feeding him the story of Odysseus’ return to Ithaca. It’s a grand story, and Myers desperately wants to believe that it parallels his truth. He is holding Patricia and talking to Spode through his helmet when Alistair Meath arrives. Patricia recognizes Alistair, who is finally acting more like himself. Alistair admits to Myers that he caused this, and he can probably make it right.

Myers calls him, “Motu,” the name of the enemy he believes himself to be fighting, and strikes him down. He tries to console Patricia, who will have none of it. It isn’t him; it isn’t Alistair – for her, it’s having been thrown into a world of crazy powers and problems, and having to act like everything is normal. I respect this in a character. In the real world, problems don’t get resolved at the end of an hour-long episode with a snarky joke and hugs all around. Problems have ramifications, and one of those is that this is all too much for her.

Meath and Myers continue to fight, although Alistair keeps trying to talk to him, to reason with him. But all the while, Spode is in his ear. That is until they have a huge clash, and the VR helmet is damaged. Myers returns to himself, and he understands. But he also understands that he doesn’t get a happy ending out of this. He’s been let down again by a country that doesn’t care for the homeless. Then this hero dumps all his problems on him, and now that’s going away, but that doesn’t end any of his original problems.

Alistair now remembers again who he is, but it’s still all too much for Patricia, who leaves him. He makes sure Myers gets an ambulance, but we are the ones who see that Gabby is one of the EMT’s. Mister Spode is nothing if not meticulously careful. (Oh, and after the big fight, he’s now Prime Minister.) He has big plans for Alistair Meath. He wants him to pick up the mantle of superhero and to defend the Realm. And all of this was part of his plan.

This is a deviously twisted plot that pulls no punches. People’s lives are being ruined, bit by bit, at the hands of Spode, who doesn’t even have the decency to ruin them directly. He has as little regard for people as most of us would have toward pesky insects. Actions in this book have consequences, and as in the real world, those are mostly avoided by the people in power.

CREATIVE STYLING AND GLORIOUS COLOR

There are two worlds in Kino #14, and the art sets them off tremendously well. We open in the real world, seeing the fallout from the fight between Kino and Myers. The panels are wide shots, very cinematic. And as horrible as it is to see London burning, the color is lovely. We see the reds and golds of fire reflected off clouds of smoke, and the dark shadows cast by this firelight at night. There’s a lot of emotion to cover here as well, especially for Myers as he comes back to reality. But that’s when we’re seeing things from Alistair’s point of view.

What really sets things apart in this book are the scenes from Myers’ VR world with himself as Kino. We see them represented as though from a Silver Age style. I love the way we segue into and out of this world view, with a few panels where the art styles are mixed together. The VR world is more simply drawn, with brighter colors, like a rollicking action scene in a book from decades ago. That makes it all the more creepy when we, as readers, know that this is a false overlay on reality. Spode is using this as well as his story about Odysseus, to manipulate Myers, to give him a simple conflict of good vs. evil without all the complications that happen in real life.

BOTTOM LINE: ANOTHER STUNNING CHAPTER

Kino #14 rewards the reader who has been following the plot all along. It is a complicated story, well thought out, and with a truly reprehensible villain who is all the more so because at his core, he acts like powerful people in our real world do. He is horrifying because he is plausible.


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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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