I’m all for post apocalyptic tales of might and right, and Khaal in its first issue does all it can to catch your attention instantly, with its striking cover, featuring Khaal, the tyrant leader of the humans, surrounded by women of different races – but it’s his steady gaze which holds you. The cover is meant to instantly titillate and ensnare.
Stephanie Louis presents the end of the world brought on by a galactic war, except for Empyreon; a penitentiary that has morphed and survived with its distinct cultures over the generations, unaware the world outside has ended.
I’m fascinated by how Empyreon has structured itself regarding resources, territory, and responsibilities. In order to survive, all the groups within the prison must work with one another. Systems are created and accepted in the penitentiary as a necessity for survival.
But as a king, you will always have those who seek to bring down your rule. We see a resistance growing from other groups, who are afraid of the Khaals and human factions plans to take over; forcing alliances between telepathic beings with cobra-shaped heads and ethereal men capable of moving through inanimate objects, and of course, your average humans.
Through the issue we learn why Lord Khaal is feared and the worst: his pet Khanys, who is a cannibal, definitely adds a lot of scary and gross, and Lord Khaal’s savagery when it comes to silencing dissension is pretty impressive.
This comic has a menacing edge to it, which hopefully pays off further ahead. Stephanie Louis does a good job building tension and creating an underlying mystery throughout the issue. How Khaal is the bad guy but the focus of the story will also hopefully pan out in an interesting manner.
I loved the artwork throughout the issue – the attention to emotion and minute facial reactions captured were well done. This issue presents most of the themes people look for in a science fiction read, but the art is a big draw as well.