By Dustin Cabeal
AmeriKarate is by far one the most difficult titles of any comic to type. It is unnatural in the way that you must move your fingers, and that is a complaint that no one cares about, but welcome to the start of this review.
Right now, comics are going through its nostalgia phase. Looking back at days of yesteryear and coming up with stories that fit perfectly in that era, but with the foresight of calling out the shortcomings at the same time. Usually in a humorous way as it is with AmeriKarate which is a hybrid of Footloose, Roadhouse, and American Ninja… there was a Rambo reference as well.
We meet Sam and Rick. Sam is the dude on the cover that looks like everything 80s had a baby and named it Sam. Rick is his quadriplegic brother that is the size of a baby and lives in his backpack. They roll into Baconville, a town that doesn’t allow Karate. We learn why eventually and this leads to an awkward sex scene. No, it’s awkward. There’s nothing sexy about it, and I’m fairly certain its supposed to be awkward, like watching it with your parents awkward. It makes it funnier in my opinion. Eventually, Rick breaks the karate rule as someone comes looking to kill him.
Not all the jokes land, but overall the humor was ridiculous and enjoyable. The writing from Corey Kalman and Brockton McKinney is consistent and free of excess. This story isn’t overwritten which is a good thing. The last thing you want in an action comedy spoof is too much writing. The references are plenty; some are obvious others might take you a moment to remember. If you were born in the 90s or later you’ll likely not get any of these unless you’re a movie buff of some kind.
The art from Devin Roth does a lot of the heavy lifting. Roth’s art is where a lot of the humor comes from, be it Sam’s flashback face to the awkward sex scene, Roth’s artwork makes sure more jokes land than fail. He can’t save them all, though.
While the story wasn’t weird enough to chase me away, I never really understood Rick’s character. He was funny sure, but even in this zany world, he felt out of place. Otherwise, it’s an entertaining story that’s filled with movie references from anyone in their thirties childhood and for that reason alone worth you spending a few bucks for a laugh.
Writers: Corey Kalman & Brockton McKinney
Artist: Devin Roth
Letterer: Dave Dwonch
Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone