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‘The Kill Screen #1:’ Comic Book Review

The indie comic The Kill Screen #1 eschews the more traditional means of the apocalypse and tags the intense connection between humans and the digital world as the root for our downfall; however, rather than focusing on how we currently are always wired through smart phones and WiFi, the creators use the eight-bit video arcade motif of a screen so covered with pixilated glitches that it becomes unplayable (a.k.a. kill screen). When these glitches bleed into the physical world, how will humanity react, and can we survive this type of societal breakdown?

The storyline for the first issue of The Kill Screen feels a little sparse, but it does function to present the basics of Mike Garley’s world. Two years after the initiation of the Kill Screen event, two survivors, Jill and Chris, run across each other in an abandoned warehouse. When they are spotted by some of the “infected,” they must rely on each other to get out of the situation alive. It’s a classic, post-apocalyptic scenario of suspicious survivors having to forge a bond under fire. Refreshingly, the plot adds a few unique twists, though, and while I want more about the current world, some ground rules for interacting with the “infected” are established, which should carry over to later installments.

Josh Sherwell’s artwork is deliberately simple, reflecting the style of old, eight-bit video games. Backgrounds and clothing are given definition but not a lot of detail, and the most intricate line work. It’s definitely a far cry above early Atari and Nintendo games, and it fits the setting perfectly. While the color palette for The Kill Screen is varied, it still fits the predominantly primary color motif of early video games, as well. Warm colors pop off the page while cool ones add despair and grief to the setting.

Overall, I found The Kill Screen interesting, but I wanted a little more from the first issue. This installment had some good twists, but the scenario felt overly zombie apocalypse instead of banking on the uniqueness of the creators’ ideas; however, this is just the setup for larger stories in later issues, so if the concept intrigues you at all, pick it up! It just might make you wonder if you really need to play an extra level of the video game before powering down for the night.

3.75 Deathmatches Between Infected out of 5


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