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Kim & Kim #4: The End of the Road

Written by Scary Cleve on Friday, November 04 2016 and posted in Reviews

Kim & Kim #4: The End of the Road

All great things come to an end, even when it looks like they shouldn't.


Source: Kim & Kim #4

STL019270Magdalene Visaggio: Story

Eva Cabrera: Pencils/Inks

Clauda Aguirre: Colors

Zakk Saam: Letters

Katy Rex: Edits

Devaki Neogi: Cover

 

Well, here it is, the end of the road. It seems not too long ago I got a hold of this great comic. It's been quite the ride, sometimes fun, other times infuriating, but always unexpected. The best reads always cause you to feel a diversity of emotions, not all of them positive. For the conclusion of Kim & Kim, the word that comes to mind is disappointment.

Now, hold on. Put down the torches. My disappointment with this issue is a whole tangle of complicated feelings, mostly about how I feel the structure, while unique, isn't the best. Sit tight, and I'll explain my sorry, buzz-killing ass.

Let's kick off this review with familiarity and talk about the cover. Devaki Neogi yet again does an outstanding job with her grunge-meets-pop art style, glam punk if I had to give it a proper name. This cover is unique in that Neogi's style creates a new aesthetic. The look of the robotic gorilla is similar to that of B-movie scifi monsters from the 1950s and 60s. As a long time fan of anything horror, I found issue #4's cover delightful.

Just like the cover, the interior art by Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, and Zakk Saam is the best, creating a colorful and wacky sci-fi universe. It has all the signature characteristics that I've talked about in past reviews: unique scenery, stylish character designs, expressive emotions and movement, and clean lettering that moves effortlessly with the art. One thing I will say stands out here is the final fight near the end. The art team pulls no punches and delivers serious action that is intense, exciting, and has you cheering for the protagonists. At this point, having to describe the quality of the art is redundant. This is damn good stuff. Just look at it for yourself!

Kim  Kim 4 1

I will say that what continues to perplex me about this comic are the pink dialogue balloons. WHAT? IS? THE POINT OF THEM?! I still don't get why they exist along with white dialogue balloons. Is there a secret meaning I'm just not getting? Is it a printing error? Or are the art team purposefully fucking with over-educated literary dudes like me that think every creative decision has to mean something?

I NEED TO KNOW! SWEET BABY JESUS PLEASE EXPLAIN IT TO ME!

Um, moving on...

Speaking of fights, time to get to my favorite section of any review, the writing. The best way for me to describe it in this issue is unpredictable. Unpredictable is the series' trademark, but I had stronger reactions here than in previous entries. The first time this happens is the beginning of the issue where instead of the awesome fight issue #3's cliffhanger set up, Visaggio opens up with a scene of favorite Catalan lackeys Saar and Columbus (possibly even suggesting some rumpus going on between the two wink wink). When the scene switches back to the Kims, it's the aftermath of the fight. This isn't new as Visaggio has done such scenes in the past, jump-cutting from what would seem like dramatic high points to the next scene. Readers who are expecting a big pay-off will probably be disappointed. Hell, even I admit I've been disappointed by this sometimes. However, Kim Q. and Kim B. usually recount these events in awkward, "we're-either-too-stupid-crazy-or-both-to-describe-properly" moments. I find these hilarious and more than make up for the bait-and-switches.

That doesn't mean, however, Kim & Kim #4 is devoid of action. In fact, I would argue that #4 has the best action sequence in the series. It's not the most over-the-top, but it has a lot of emotion to it, especially as this is a turning point for the Kims, Saar, and Columbus in working together and realizing that, even though the beef between Kim Q. and her father is still an issue, they are willing to help each other out. It's a nice resolution to one of the ongoing personal conflicts in the series. There is even a hint at Furious Quatro loosening his over-protective, downright controlling pursuit to bring Kim Q. back into the Catalans. Their relationship is not resolved, whether Kim Q. still hates him or not is left up in the air. I would've liked to see if she begrudgingly thanked him or something, maybe even hinted at reconciliation later. Or not. Knowing Kim Q., she would probably just steal money from him. Ah, children.

I will say that lack of conflict wrap-ups is disappointing. I know that Kim & Kim thrives on randomness, but there is a point where it deflates the emotional impact of the story. In fact, the randomness works against the story structure of this issue. Sorry to be reductive, but all stories can be said to follow one path: Point A to Point B. The journey can be as straightforward as Mad Max: Fury Road or as WTF as Naked Lunch. The thing is though, unless the story is pure surrealism ala Un Chien Andalou, (google it you uncultured swines) there is always an end point. The path from Point A can be as long, twisting and turning as the storyteller(s) want it to be, but it still ends at Point B even when not obvious.

Kim & Kim #4 does not seem to do this. It goes from Point A to Point A. The Kims get a new assignment in order to pay their rent, nothing of which has to do with El Scorcho until the very end, and even then a lot of questions about who and what they are is unanswered. They remain faceless like S.P.E.C.T.R.E, which is cool but I still wish that this group was expanded on.

In-between that, yet another new concept is introduced when Kim B.'s mother calls. Logan Dalton wrote in his Graphic Policy review that their exchange represents the modern dilemma of millennials trying to live independently of their parents. It does that and expands upon Kim B.'s character. However, this is the end of the comic. Why introduce this new layer when it won't be explored upon in a later issue? Is this Vissagio's attempt to develop Kim B. since so much of the series has been Kim Q. focused? If so, it's a little too late for that. Besides, millennial woes aren't the real ongoing theme of Kim & Kim. It's queer issues as represented by Kim Q's struggle with her identity as trans and bisexual.

kim-kim-4-4

I will say that this issue with Kim B. and her mom gets resolved at the end, but when I read it, I couldn't help but think, "What's the point of this?" It didn't feel like a real conclusion, but more like the start of another storyline. At least, it's not a conclusion that satisfyingly wraps the series up. I'm struggling to place it into words. Maybe it has to do with the Kim Q. focus from previous issues that to suddenly focus on Kim B. and conclude with her resolution instead of one with Kim Q. is disappointing. It's even more so given how melancholy the Kims look, Kim Q. hugging a morose Kim B. It put me in a really bad mood, unexpected for what has been an upbeat series so far.

I'm frustrated because I don't want to be so negative toward the final issue. There might be something I'm not noticing. Perhaps, the ending would make more sense if I went back and reread the previous issues. For now, I find the ending disappointing.

Regardless, I'm glad I read Kim & Kim. It is a unique series with strong queer feminine representation the comics medium so desperately needs. It's full of action, humor, and crazy ass science fiction wrapped up in a punk rock ribbon. I seriously hope that there will be a second series sometime in the future. If not, at least give me a cartoon series, damn it!

Congratulations to Visaggio, Cabrera, Aguirre, Saam, Rex, Neogi, Fowler, and Black Mask Studios for all their hard work. As for you, the reader, go pick up copies stat! Keep an eye out for the trade as well. Most importantly, have a fun fucking time just like the Kims!





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About the Author - Scary Cleve


All his life, Scary Cleve wanted to write gruesome stories in a grim Scottish castle while sipping whiskey and contemplating his existential angst. Instead, he ended up living in Florida, so he does all this with a tan. He's been a life long fan of comics and plans on writing some. Until that day, he writes and edits about comics over at PopOptiq under the guise of Ben Howard, and he's more than happy to spread his filth to the Outhouse. Other interests include horror movies, heavy metal, and writing screenplays and occasional short stories.
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