I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Kristopher Morron for my podcast a few weeks back. I was so impressed with the man that I bought his comic Peerless. I liked that so much, that I decided to review it for this week’s column.
Written by Nick Macari and Kris Morron
Art by Pablo Peppino
Colors by Wil Quintana
Letters by Rob Jones
Publisher: Sombrero Brothers Productions LLC
Peerless is an eight-issue comic book mini-series that is equal parts magical and good fun. My last two reviews have been huge gravitas with magic and family drama and fun in The Incantesi, and just an entertaining fun book with Nira X. Peerless is something in between both books.
It begins simple enough. Like all good stories, we start towards the end, with an epic kung fu fight between Kiara and a man in the hood. Things aren’t going well for our heroine, as it seems like things at that point in the story are quite bleak.
The story then shifts from the present (?) to thirty-six hours to where this story is started to be told. Kiara, a member of an elite martial arts group called the Fists finds herself back into the Bronx looking for a man she cares about named Malik and finding trouble by the time you get to page five. This book gets right into crazy kung fu action as Kiara is fighting a gang called the Dragons and it just escalates into great action and some unexpected personal twists. From this point on, the team does an amazing job showing the reader who these characters are, what’s at stake, and the tone of the story you are reading. Not many professionals in the industry have done as great a job as this. Within the next dozen or so pages I was shown who Kiara was, the kid with her named Youngblood. I knew the stakes, who the bad guys were, and I knew that Kiara shouldn’t be here and thanks to the first two pages, I knew that there would be consequences that began here.
The book’s pace engaged and felt like a damn near-perfect read. I can’t believe this is an independent comic. Many a creative in the big two present a story as engaging and fluid as this one. At the end of the issue, I was very sad I would have to wait for the next Kickstarter to read the next one. This is as top-notch a comic as you’re going to read. Macari and Morron have crafted a story that is a throwback to classic blacksploitation such as Black Dynamite and kung fu classics like Big Trouble In Little China. This book will connect with you and hit you with incredible precision. Kudos to writing a great book guys.
The art team on every level delivers. Pablo Peppino has a nice flair with his work. His characters feel quite human, and he’s perfectly comfortable drawing action scenes and all the characters are expressive. Peppino is a gifted storyteller. Will Quintana’s colors set the mood for this issue perfectly. There’s a subdued brightness to the issue that kind of makes you feel like the sun’s setting in this place. The prologue does say that the events in this issue foreshadow the near destruction of the Bronx. Yet even in the apocalypse, there are bright spots here and there, and the mood is incredibly polished reading this.
Finally, I have to give Rob Jones some love. Letterers don’t often get the credit they deserve crafting an issue, as the work they do very often goes without comment, but the inside cover gives me a great sense of what to expect with the issue, and even then to be continued box at the end of the issue adds to the tone and storytelling in the issue itself. In short, the whole team did a great job with this book and should be praised. I wish I knew who edited the book. It’s great. It really is.
This might be one of the best books I read in 2020. I can’t wait for the rest of the series and you guys should join me on the journey. You can buy this book here and I encourage you to do so. This is as good as you are going to get in comics. Trust me.
Somehow, my work in progress has become a partial graphic novel. Lights Out part one is a graphic comic using a twitch stream as a model for streaming in the future. It’s an interesting way to open a story and I hope people enjoy it. For whatever reason when I create my own projects, they never seem to go where I expect them to. One day I’ll write a traditional novel. Maybe.
I’m very close to being an affiliate on Twitch. I have 47 followers of 50. The streams are moving and I’ve got a plethora of amazing guests lined up all the way until next weekend. You can watch me live right here. In the meantime, here’s the audio of my latest podcast featuring Katie Salidas, who’s also writing stuff here from time to time.
Stay inspired and keep shining in the dark. Also, I have an article coming up on Writer’s Weekly. Proud of that one. Next time I do a column, I’ll continue my love affair with Stephanie Phillips. Until then guys, keep reading.