Kult can best be described as the Matrix meets demons, but with a dash of Midnight Nation thrown in for good measure. Essentially, as the recap tells us, the world we know is a lie created by a horrible machine that keeps the human race enslaved and realizing their potential of reaching God like status. One-man is destined to save the human race by setting them free and taking control of the machine, the problem is of course that he doesn’t want that much power. Tomas Zenk is that reluctant man and all he cares about is his daughters. He’s been torn from the “lie” and thrust into a maze created by the machine to keep freed humans from taking control. Tomas’ was mistakenly dumped into the maze by three cultists with the best intentions, but now must figure out where he is and accept his surroundings. He’s saved by a dentist that figures out who he is and reveals to him the true nature of the world by spinning him around in a chair with pictures drawn on the wall. Tomas breaks free from the world and in doing so, learns to control the machine, but makes a critical mistake when the machine adapts the world without him in it.
I couldn’t tell you when the first issue of this came out which is a shame since I was taken by surprise with it. The story is interesting and uses other stories as an outline so that you’re able to focus on the characters and the plot more than the world that they’re in. Writer Jeremy Barlow does a decent job of getting the exposition of the world out of the way quickly and uniquely. It’s an interesting idea to have drawings on a wall come alive and transform to tell a story in comic book format. It unfortunately doesn’t work that well as it just looks like flashback images commonly associated already in comic books. Perhaps if it had been animated or live action it would have stood out more and worked better, but the creativity is there and that’s what works.
Barlow otherwise does a good job of creating believable characters in an unreal world. I really enjoyed the twist on the story, but could have waited longer for Tomas’ character to discover his powers. There’s a very fine line in stories of this nature of having the character learn his powers to quickly and easily and not fast enough. This story falls into that first column as Tomas is put in one dangerous situation and instantly starts driving the machine. It’s not annoying, but it’s a bit off putting when you’ve just seen the character struggling to climb a ladder the page before.
I actually like this book a lot and that surprised me. I was expecting it to be full of ugly ass demons and it wasn’t, but that steered it into a different direction than I was expecting which was a good thing. If the story continues this fine balance of humans and demons without treading too deep in one or the other it could turn out to be another decent mini-series that 2011 and Dark Horse has produced.
Writer: Jeremy Barlow
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics