By Daniel Vlasaty
Kyle Starks is the best thing ever! And he has a new book out and it is called Kill Them All. I have basically loved everything he has done since I first read Sexcastle a few years back. Kyle Starks' books are silly and weird and totally fucking intense. And Kill Them All is no different. This book is great. It is everything I have come to love from both Kyle Starks and the medium of comic books in general.
I have often found myself thinking about how much most comics books would be better if they took on the tone of all those ridiculous/cheesy/intense 80s action movies. If the stories stopped taking themselves so seriously, maybe. If they just embraced the absurdity of the world we actually live in. And this is what I think Kyle Starks does when he sits down to write a comic book. Maybe. I don’t know. Basically, what I'm saying is: Kill Them All is the best 80s action movie to come out in comic book form in a long fucking time. Probably ever. Or at least since Sexcastle was released.
Seriously, I'm finding it hard even to explain or describe this book. So, I'll just say that it involves one disgraced cop, another shy/nervous/weird cop, and a badass assassin chick taking on an entire office building to get at a crime boss known as Requin. It's an office building of crime, which in theory doesn’t make any sense, except that while reading the story it totally does. (It's essentially the corporate headquarters of Requin's criminal enterprise). Just know that this is floor after floor, page after page, of mayhem and death and dick-punches. It's basically a sillier comic book version of The Raid: Redemption.
Like most other Kyle Starks' books, the characters here aren't the most fleshed out. They're basically just caricatures or homages to Hollywood action stars. We don’t ever really get any background info on them but it doesn’t really matter here. It doesn’t affect the story at all. Because this isn't really the type of book you read if you're looking for deep and thoughtful characters.
The action in Kill Them All is as over-the-top as you'd expect. There are so many explosions and deaths and ridiculous one-liners that I almost couldn’t handle it all. Kyle Starks has some of the best one-liner dialogue in the business. For instance when one character describes another character as looking like "a sword and a big toe had a baby."
As much as I love Kyle Starks' writing, it's the combination of writing and his art that make his books truly special and unique. The art matches the tone of the story. The over-the-top-ness of it. The linework is very simple, big and bold. My favorite thing, though, is the way Starks illustrates fight scenes. He uses smaller panels when depicting an intense fight. I think this way of showing adds to the urgency of it. Little silent panels that you quickly scan to show the speed and urgency of a fight (which in the case of Kill Them All all happen to be life-or-death fights).
Luigi Anderson colors Kill Them All, and I think the color work is spot on. It's a good mix of bold and dreary. It captures the various tones of the book. The scenes featuring Detective Iruka are heavy on the grays and blues, which fit his mood and sensibilities. He's more of a hard-boiled badass detective type, and these are the colors I associate that with. The scenes featuring Babe (or The Tiger's Daughter, or whatever her real name is) are slightly brighter and seem to have more of a reddish tint to them. Which could be playing up her revenge piece. The fight scenes are colored differently, too. They're more or less confined to two or three colors, but there's occasionally something that pops in them. Whether it's a burst of bright yellow where a punch connects or a blur of color to show movement. Color isn't something I generally focus on while I'm reading comics (even when I'm reading them for the purposes of review). But in Kill Them All I seemed to notice them more. They stood out in a way that grabbed me.
Kill Them All (like all of Kyle Starks' books) is just fun. It's funny and silly and wacky and blah blah blah. Kyle Starks consistently puts out the exact kind of comic books I seek out and like to read. His work wears its influences on its sleeves but that is fine, because he uses them to create his own, totally original, things. I loved every single page, every single panel, every single uttered one-liner in this thing. It's just a good fucking book.
Kill Them All