KOMA

9 Overall Score
Art: 8/10
Dialoque: 9/10
Story: 10/10

Some heavy philosophical issues tackled in a light, fun manner.

Gets oddly dark for hardly any reason...

KOMA
(W)Pierre Wazem
(A)Frederik Peeters
(C)Albertine Ralenti
Humanoids Publishing

The story of KOMA changes so often that it would be hard to summarize without giving away half the fun, but at its simplest, this is the story of weird girl figuring out her place in the world, how she effects those around her as she does. It’s very different from what I’m used to reading, but in the best possible way. KOMA is fun to read, sweet and scary at the same time, and left me with a feeling that it should be shared with all my friends and any one else I met for a few days.

I blame some of its charm on being European, and me being not European. Reading this feels like watching one of those indie films that wins so many critical awards and then earns $100,000 in theatrical release because people would rather watch the latest big budget reboot of a movie from a few years ago. I’ve always loved those films, and felt those people were missing out on a lot. People who believe comics have to be episodic fights between good and evil might just be missing out too.

KOMA’s plot may jump ship a few times – I thought it was going to be about a little girl lost in a forgotten underworld one minute, then about her rescuing her father from unjust imprisonment then next, just to have both those plots resolved in a heartbeat with nary a look back – but everything becomes clear in the end, and the ride to get there is so sweet and fun and involving that you don’t really notice the changes at all until you’re done. Addidas, the little girl the story revolves around, stays so solid and determined that her character carries the flow from one impossible situation to the next and grounds the reader in whatever is happening there. Her attitude is to take whatever happens to her and just deal with it, and that rubs off on the reader. The story may be strong, but the character is stronger, and the bond she shares with the reader the strongest of all. It’s a fabulous effect, and it goes far beyond thinking my favorite superhero could be up your favorite superhero.

And this may be a book about a child’s adventures, but it quickly gets philosophical and thoughtful. One minute we’re talking about the good guys and the bad guys in a wild west film, and the next Addidas is facing a decision about leaving a loved one behind because they may be happier without her. The thing is, though, this story handles everything so well that it’s not even a shock. It builds one layer on top of another, and when it is time to take a step into deeper waters, you’ve been prepared for it.

Indeed, the only negative thing I could say about the story is the oddly dark turn it takes towards the end. It goes from a sweet, comical story about the real world opening up to Addidas, to spending two whole pages describing in graphic detail how one of the bad guys is going to torture someone for information. It’s out of place for such a lighthearted story, and it sticks out like a sore thumb to all of the subtle story development I just went on and on about. Sure, it does reveal things about several characters, but none of them are major players, and I do question if we couldn’t have learned those things in a less horrific way.

The art tends to be on the simple side, and the panels are usually drawn very close to the characters. This creates the tiniest feeling of having a small budget, which I think only adds to the indie film feeling. This may be a brilliant book, but of course it has a smaller budget than a series with billion dollar brand names. The art is still well done, and the style fits Addidas as our eyes in the world perfectly.

I’m giving KOMA one of the highest ratings I can recall giving in a few months. It may not be for every comic fan, but those who are able to enjoy it will love it. It tells its story very well, it has emotional impact, and it has something for you to think about far deeper than the “don’t judge a book by its cover” anti-heroes so common these days. If you just want cool fights and awesome art from your comics, maybe pass it by, but if you’re interested in comics as an art form having something to impart, check this one out. I don’t think you’re going to be disappointed at all.

 

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Author: Brian Reed View all posts by
"Brian has been a nerd, gamer, and comic book geek since the NES was cool, nerds weren't, and comics cost $0.75. Though his hobbies now cost a fair bit more, he is no less passionate about his escapism. He is proud to be a part of both the Florida Geek Scene and The Nerdstravaganza Podcast."

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