Review: Killbox #1

High concept stories always seem to have the roughest first issues. The reason being is that there’s so much to set up in the world that exposition and narration become heavy crutches. Killbox is like a video game deathmatch brought to life. Contestants are picked for the game and then told to say in a specific area known as the “Killbox.” Their goal… kill the other contestants and don’t get caught. Instantly you’re asking yourself if this is worth it. Don’t get caught while you murder 19 other people in cold blood? Oh, and don’t get killed, too. Well obviously it’s worth it otherwise we wouldn’t have a story. The issue is spent half with the people running the game as the pit boss of sorts lays everything out for us. He narrates every detail of the game and the rules so that we are in the know. We shouldn’t need to visit them again after this issue and that’s a good thing. The other part of the issue is spent getting to know a few of the contestants and seeing who is killing who.

Killbox #1In this issue we only meet a handful of contestants and we’re given backstories on three of them. This is probably the most interesting part because you see what their motivation is and how casual they are about taking place in the game. Then during the game, you see how none of these people were killers to begin with. Well, maybe one of them and his character development is still very different than what’s presented in his backstory.

Putting aside the narration/exposition, this story is well told and paced just right. The action is spread out, but it still feels like it’s being kept at a frantic pace. You don’t get the impression that these characters are just hanging out, but instead running to the finish line. The exposition isn’t bad. Thankfully it’s all kept to the narration, it’s just kind of strange that we’re in this dude’s head and he’s explaining everything to us. We need it though. I don’t know how else we would get this level of information otherwise.

The art is black & white and grayscale. It works for the story and has a distinct look. I liked it, but it’s not perfect. The women tend to have weird posture and all of the clothes are painted on the characters. It’s believable to a degree, but it’s like a skinny jeans convention at the same time. One of the female characters was wearing a full jump suit… I think. It’s really hard to tell, but that’s what it looks like and I don’t believe for a second that someone playing a kill game in real life would wear a onsie. You would stand out instantly to your targets and the police.

The end of the issue was a bit flat, but I was already hooked on reading more. It was just a clumsy set up for the second issue and a bit of convenient writing to prolong one character’s life over another. I’ll be back for more and if you’re interested in a Battle Royale situation happening in the streets of modern L.A., then you should check out Killbox.

[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Killbox #1
Writer: Tom Riordan
Artist: Nathan Gooden
Publisher: American Gothic Press
Price: $3.99
Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital