By Dustin Cabeal
Khaal is originally a French comic book, which isn’t 100% apparent from the cover. It becomes more obvious upon reading it and realizing that the art is beautiful, while the story struggles. I’ve heard a lot of people say that French comics value art over the story and that’s damn true here.
The story is about a prison planet. There’s a long explanation about this entire system that’s set up and my god did it ramble on and on about it. The opening didn’t add to the premise of the comic, and unlike a lot of sci-fi, it wasn’t even needed to understand the world that we were diving into. The gist is that on this prison planet, there are three races of beings. One is humanoid like us; the other is psychic, and very Star Wars inspired, and the third can walk through walls like Shadowcat. They all hate each other, but they can’t completely wipe each other out because the way the prison is designed requires one from each race to use the equipment that keeps them all alive.
Khaal is a dick. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to like the guy or if that comes after his great fall that’s destined to happen, but he’s a dick for now. He’s a ruthless killer and ruler of the planet at the moment. Every so often people talk shit about him, and he opens up a challenge to take him on in the arena. Win and you lead the people, lose, and you’re dead.
It’s during one such challenge that we learn that Khaal was at one point an outcast from his people and has been joined by an outcast from each of the other two societies. Somehow, he can channel their powers. Why they work with him is unknown. He makes some threats, but they do seem like willing participants in his role as leader… until he bangs a bunch of women and claims all the credit.
What was cheese as hell was the moment the two other races both recalled their ridiculous reason for banishing one of their own and conveniently remembering them after watching Khaal fight… for like the fourteenth time. It took them fourteen times to realize… hey, that guy is doing things our people kinda do, but more in they way that that outcast did them. And why would they fucking remember the outcasts powers? No idea, but it was a convenient set of scenes.
I’m fairly certain that Khaal is going to fall from grace and have to learn how to be a humble leader or some shit. If not that, then he’ll just continue to be an unlikeable dickhead that’s using the only two people that are like him just to pointlessly fuck.
Oh, but the art is good. Like really, really, really good. If anything just pick it up and look at it, then put it back down. It’s not that the story is bad, but it’s average. That and the translation feels stuck trying to be authentic to the original wording, but then trying to make sense of it all at the same time. Or it could just be a poorly written story with an okay translation. Whatever your preference, you won’t get much out of this book other than great art.
Artist: Valentin Sécher
Publisher: Titan Comic