Washington, Jefferson, and Abigail are all gone. As John Adams sees his plans crumbling around him yet again, does he truly understand what is happening? Find out in Killadelphia #29 from Image Comics.
Writer: Rodney Barnes
Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander
Colorist: Lee Loughridge
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Greg Tumbarello
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 29, 2023
Previously in Killadelphia: The battle for Philadelphia continues, a shadow of the apocalypse. The founding fathers who became vampires slowly realize that humans have not changed much in a couple of hundred years, and their great democratic experiment still has weak spots. They share their final thoughts as General Toussaint slowly picks them off, one by one. Anansi talks directly to Satan and finds him disinclined to initiate the actual apocalypse. Humans are well able to destroy themselves without outside help. And this time, it is Jefferson who meets his end.
ONLY ONE FOUNDING FATHER REMAINS
Killadelphia #29 returns to the man who was our first surprise. John Adams walks through the streets, acknowledging that this is a war and reviewing the casualties – his friends, his allies, and his wife who have all met their end in a few short hours. Even the Eterna have fled back into darkness. The youthful-looking Brittany lands at his feet and turns to ash.
Adams contemplates the country while we see a montage of history and unrest around the world, all events within the United States, or that the United States has become involved in. History is not always pretty. In this day and age, it is still important to understand where we came from because this is the only way we will have the opportunity to change things or not fall prey to the same mistakes again. Having lived so long and seen so much, he realizes that the roots of present-day problems were growing back at the beginning.
With the writing of the Constitution, they thought that perhaps they could create a more perfect union. But he realizes now that people are not perfect and cannot create a perfect thing. Civility cannot be legislated. Immortality, he thought, gave himself and Abigail another chance to turn things around and make them better. But vampirism was only ever another two-edged sword. The problem with freedom is that if people are free, you cannot also make them do what they do not want to do.
Toussaint was sent by God to destroy them. Was there ever a way to create that ideal country, either by humans or by vampires? And now the end is simply coming for them without any second chance, without a time to think or discuss things, without any opportunity for peace. He realizes that this night will be his last, and he takes his time to remember the good things in his life. That life is full of deeds, good and bad. He is at peace with himself, and as a being with a soul, he meets his death fearlessly and asks only for forgiveness.
THE MACABRE DANCE OF HISTORY
Killadelphia #29 reaches deep into the thoughts of one man, and the art is used to complement his monologue and communicate his ideas through stark images. The major deaths so far are presented as panels showing their bones and what little remains of their clothing. Those panels are monochromatic and white-bordered, so they look like slightly crumpled old photographs blown by the wind, like another metaphor for the fragility of life.
The montage of history is painful and evocative. History does not merely repeat itself; it echoes itself with variations. The technology that can bring us positives can be used against us to make oppression that much more efficient. Harsh reality is juxtaposed against optimistic idealism. Monarchy had a lot of flaws, and a republic was seen as a way to counter that. No matter how good the intentions, humanity is still the core of any government. For everyone who tries to live up to the ideals, there will be someone who only tries to manipulate and profit from the weaknesses of government. John Adams may have once seen himself as the former, but realizes he came to be the latter.
BOTTOM LINE: FINDING THE CORE OF TRUTH
Killadelphia #29 is a terrific chapter in a stunning work of art. Come for the vampires but stay and be changed forever in how you see our country. This is a work of fiction that does what good fiction does – find a way to show us a few truths.
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John Adams sees the writing on the wall on the streets of Philadelphia in the dark.