Man oh man does our story get complicated! The drama is thick in this volume of Ken Games, but most it comes towards the end setting up the final volume which I can only imagine is going to be spectacular. To recap, the first volume of Ken Games followed Peter aka Rock. He’s an amateur boxer and in a way an amateur math scholar. He’s boxing while he waits to get back into school on a scholarship which plays out a bit in this volume. We also meet TJ aka Paper who pretends to be a banker, but is really a professional gambler that plays with criminals and other shady types. Lastly we met TJ’s girlfriend Anne aka Scissors. She pretends to be a teacher to TJ, but then works as a waitress where Rock finds her, but she’s actually an assassin for the mob that owns the gambling house that Paper plays at. Also everyone is lying to each other.
Here we see that continue even as their lives become drawn closer and closer to each other. The story though focuses on TJ as we learn that his dad was a card player as well, but he liked to cheat… and was pretty good at it. He taught TJ everything he knows and had him help him cheat. TJ’s story takes him to Europe for a “World Series of Poker” tournament. It’s interesting because it’s televised and everything and yet he still does it even though it would potentially expose him to his friends. TJ’s story has some interesting aspects, but it’s how it concludes that really makes it worth reading. Much like Rock’s story you have to wonder if he can escape the shadow of his father?
With the other two characters we follow Rock the least. We see him become more and more concerned about being hit in the head because he is trying to get a scholarship. He gets a rematch with boxer that beat him before and the boxer actually tries to help him. The match is interesting because it’s actually for the mob boss that Scissors works for. Her side of the story has a lot going on. Her former flame is her new co-worker and they’re given a job to take out the guy that fucked with TJ in the first volume.
There’s actually a lot going on in the background that’s building Scissor’s story for the next volume. It’s exactly what Robledo did with the first volume in which we focused on Rock, but he built up TJ in anticipation of this volume. I don’t know how that will work for the final volume, but I don’t doubt that Robledo has the skills to pull it off.
The character development in this volume is much better than the first. For the first we were still getting to know the characters and their lies, but here we now know them and so seeing them develop and maintain their lies is captivating.
The artwork continues to be beautiful even if it is gory and violent at times. The style can only be described as European, but that’s a very good thing in my book. It’s detailed, stylized and tells the story every bit as much as the narration and dialogue. The art holds its own rather than just supporting the story. That cover is the interior art in case you were wondering, no bait and switch here.
The coloring is by far some of the best I’ve seen. The different hues each scene uses adds a lot of personality to the story. There’s a seedy underground feeling to the overall story which is exactly where it’s taking place, the seedy underground of society. The coloring really is vibrant and the most striking thing visually.
I know that this is the second story in a three story volume, but the creators have managed to make this volume stand on its own. Sure it references things from the first volume, but it does so in a way that it includes new readers. You can just read Paper and be fine. You’ll get a rewarding story that has a beginning, middle and end. That’s a challenging task for any creators telling a story in multiple parts so I really applaud that. With that said, it’s even better when you read it after the first volume.
[button btn_url="" btn_color="teal" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 4/5[/button]
Ken Games - Vol. 2: Paper Writer: Robledo Jose Manuel Artist: Toledano Martial Publisher: Europe Comics Price: €6.99 (Roughly $7.65) Format: TPB; Print/Digital Website