James Sangster, Jr. has survived one vampiric bloodbath, but he feels it’s only a matter of time before they strike again. How will they do it this time? Find out in Killadelphia #7 from Image Comics!
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: Luis NCT
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Greg Tumbarello
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 26, 2020
Previously in Killadelphia: Detective James Sangster, Jr. comes home to Philadelphia after the death of his father only to find himself in the midst of a vampire uprising led by former President John Adams. His father, a former police detective himself, was turned into a vampire. Jimmy, Jose (the medical examiner) and James Sr. team up with Tevin, who has parted ways with John Adams and manage to stop the vampires – but not before they cut an enormous swath of death through the city.
THE PRESIDENT IS DEAD – LONG LIVE HIS WIFE
Killadelphia #7 opens six months after the events of the first arc. The vampire attacks have officially been explained as “domestic terrorism.” Philadelphia may have settled into a new normal, but it is a normal where a few select people, James Sangster, Jr. among them, know the truth. Their special ops team deals with individual vampires as they find them, usually one at a time. James knows that the remnants of John Adams’ vampire family are still out there, somewhere.
President John Adams may be no more, but his wife Abigail is still around. Not only has she stepped in to fill the leadership void, but she has her own plan for the vampires. Adams wanted to found a new democracy of sorts; Abigail sees America as a business. This is a chilling reflection on our country’s current state of affairs.
Abigail as a story to tell, going back to 1814 when John was trying to make up with his former adversaries. They visited Thomas Jefferson, and Abigail observed a slave at work, a man collared, working almost mechanically, and returning to wearing an iron mask without complaint. This is Jupiter, a slave who was a boy when the President was a boy. They played together, but that friendship could never survive the demands of slavery. Abigail buys him, even though she had John had never had slaves. His psychological damage fascinated her, and she turned him into a vampire. This is such a raw, compelling story that cuts to the bone.
Jimmy and Jose are still together. Jimmy doubts his own abilities as a homicide detective, especially where the vampires are concerned. Jose frankly wonders about their relationship – they’re both damaged people; is this something that will pass, or can they make it work? She also wonders why different vampires have such different levels of independence.
As Abigail talks, her vampire “children” (and isn’t that a loaded term) want to take to the streets and kill everyone they can. She lays down the law; she has a plan and they’re going to follow it. Abigail does not want to embark on a campaign of mass carnage; she wants to inflict terror on people and cause them to panic. She wants to capitalize on that fear, and for this her primary weapon is Jupiter, who uses all his pent-up rage to kill horribly.
There is so much subtext to this story. It’s a powerful read, meticulously written and as fascinating as it is cringeworthy.
PATIENCE AND BLOOD
I love the art in Killadelphia #7 so much. Every panel contributes to the overall atmosphere, which is dark and gritty, almost nihilistic. Jimmy’s life on the homicide beat is dark enough to begin with, but we can see the extra shadows that plague him. He still feels he can never live up to his father’s reputation. There is the added weight of being part of a secret group – this is a world real enough that people won’t accept vampires as an explanation. We see every touch of doubt along with a stubborn thread of determination.
This style, when applied to Abigail, brings out her ruthlessness. The scenes with the vampires are bloody and brutal, an interesting juxtaposition with the theme of slavery that runs through the book as well. Is servitude of a different kind actually freedom, or is it just a variation on slavery? Abigail walks the fine line between being really sexy and being utterly dispassionate. It’s disconcerting, until we see a moment where it is apparent that she loved her husband in a way, perhaps in the way of a relationship that spans centuries.
BOTTOM LINE: CAN’T PUT IT DOWN
Killadelphia #7 is a powerful start to a new arc that builds on the previous story, effortlessly weaving a plot through both history and a horror story, and finding and building on unexpected connections.
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The vampires of Philadelphia may be lying low for now, but Abigail Adams has plans for them!