ADVANCE REVIEW: Black Kiss XXXmass in July Special

Writing and Art by: Howard Chaykin

Published by: Image Comics

$5.99

This one shot has some questionable content. This book is not for those with strong moral convictions. There are racial slurs, mention of incest, rape, and sexually graphic imagery. All of that aside, who doesn’t love a good story filled with revenge? Howard Chaykin broke this book down into five separate sections. They’re all connected to tell a larger story that spans five decades. That may seem like a lot, but it works. Especially for a one shot. I think breaking this down into a mini-series would have added a lot of unnecessary aspects. I’d rather have it in one book rather than useless filler.BKXmascov-4a325

I really like the fact that Chaykin chose to keep the art in black and white giving it a noir feel. I think color would have taken away from the text. Chaykin acknowledges the date and location with each change. Each time there is a change he includes a visual hit list. This serves as a reminder that characters will be revisited. The art feels a bit like unfinished sketches in areas. Normally this would bother me, but it fits in this case. Clean lines would have been a bit too contrived.  When it comes to the time periods covered, Chaykin did his research. He stayed true to the period of the time. The architecture and fashion is historically accurate. He does admit at the end of the book that he took some liberties with the fashion. This is only noticeable when the girls are in a state of undress. There’s a little mention of politics and religious movements that help set the tone. It makes things more believable.

When it comes to the writing, the story was easy to follow for the most part. I had to read over part three a few times in order to follow the story properly. There seemed to be a disconnect with the story-line. Other than that I understood what was going on in every part of the story. We did have more background information on the men in the story, despite the lead of the story being female. We also know nothing about the lead’s partner in crime. Just all of a sudden there’s an additional character and no explanation of who she is or how she got involved. I think it would have been nice to know how they came to be close and how they decided that revenge was an option. I would also like to know the process that went into making these plans.

Verdict:

I decided to read this book because it was different from what I normally pick up. The title alone told me it wasn’t going to be a story that was fun for the whole family. While I enjoyed the premise of the story, I can’t say this is a book I would recommend, nor is it something I’d read in the future. I found the racial slurs to be off putting. Some lines were crossed. Anyone that has experienced sexual abuse probably shouldn’t pick up this book. It could trigger unpleasant memories for them. I understand the situations are part of a fictional story and don’t necessarily reflect the view and opinions of Chaykin. I would assume that he doesn’t condone any of the things he has written about in this book. It’s a bit much for me though. Honestly, I don’t know who I would recommend this book too. On a positive note I enjoyed that at the end of the book Chaykin walked us through his process for creating the art. It’s something you may not be familiar with if comics aren’t a big part of your life. It’s not exactly relevant, but it is nice to see.

5/10