Kid Monkey is the latest release from comic creating machine James McCulloch and it’s a change of direction from his usual horror themed antics.
It kicks off with a government project to create it’s own genetically altered commando unit and while this plot hovers on the surface the background & heart of the story is one of brothers Caine & Abel. Torn apart by an incident when they were young it’s a past that comes back to haunt them both and begins to shape the world they’re in now.
James has taken a big step in broadening the comics he produces with a tongue-in-cheek, cliché-filled opening issue but the pacing and the plot lines he has merged together are a stunning mix. He is joined by artist Paul Johnson & colourist Lauren Knight who embrace the story and give it a unique look that feels like this is a comic adaptation of a cartoon series…..and stunning cartoon series at that. It’s bold where it needs to be, muted where it requires it and there’s an underlying energy to the action that makes this a real page turner.
A fun change of pace for James and one that I hope he’ll pursue further because he’s showing that there’s more to his comic writing talents than just horror. It feels and looks like there’s much more involved than a 36 page count would suggest and that makes it a success on multiple levels which is down to the whole creative team hitting us square in the jaw with a monkey fist. There’s parallels with the Caine & Abel story and the likes of Captain America & The Winter Soldier but that’s a fleeting observation at most as there is a still a unique almost cult feeling to this first issue.