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A robot turns into a boat and slices through a giant woman’s torso. Need it say more about how awesomely odd KRAK #1 is…? Despite it’s missed oppurtunities.
KRAK is a former thug just trying to find a job. After a rough interview, he finds a scientist willing to take him on as an assistant after a rather shocking test.
Scott Amundson (Barbarian) makes KRAK into a likeable if simple protagonist. We are not given his origins, but his dialogue is usually pretty funny. It also helps establish some of his past, specifically in the opening when he is being interviewed for a job. This was a clever way to quickly not only characterize KRAK, but it was a great way to quickly look into KRAK’s past and juxtapose his personality now with what he has done in the past.
The problem is, it is clear by the end of the story that we may never learn anything else about KRAK and that is too premature. The way the story flies by it looks like KRAK could become nothing more than a one-shot. The story itself, while peppered with some funny and effective dialogue, went by too quickly, and as a result there were multiple missed opportunities to make the story funnier.
The first most blatant missed opportunity was how quickly the interview goes by. The tagline for this comic is that it is about a robot looking for a job, and he finds one almost immediately. It would have been more entertaining to have seen him go through multiple interviews. It would be a great opportunity to learn even more about him and to add more jokes. Then it would make more sense that KRAK was so downtrodden and surprised when a scientist accepts him as his assistant almost immediately.
Another instance where KRAK could have been drawn out more was when KRAK starts working for the scientist, it immediately states he does all kinds of jobs for him and then skips to his most important mission yet. This seemed like a missed opportunity to do something funny with the character, like show him running through several different scenarios at his own expense to do his new job. But we are only given one job, and the action scene that culminates from that one job is satisfying, but not enough.
The story being set-up would have worked better as a mini-series, or even as one full issue and not just one story in a two story one-shot like it is here. Yes, this one issue manages to squeak in two full stories. Ironically, while I got more invested in KRAK’s character, that story is less likely to continue than the second story.
The second story was not as funny, nor was the main protagonist nearly as interesting, fleshed out or fun as the first, but there was more depth story wise. KRAK’s story was basic and fun while the second story featuring a superhero team called the Retaliators, who are recruiting new members, was more serious. It had a surprisingly dark twist and while the main character is not very likable, his back-story and origin are shown more than KRAK’s. This was a more appropriate technique for this character, literally showing his back-story, than using the same technique in the first story – just saying a few lines – would have been.
The artwork is not terribly penciled by Joie Simmons (MILT!), but it’s sketchy style makes it difficult to tell what is going on at times, especially during the panels with big fights going on. There are too many lines going on, but would the artwork look right with color? With color, it may be easier to see everything going on but could come at the expense of making the comic look too cartoonish. The artist just needs to simplify his line use.
The reason I still say the action scene was satisfying is, even though it’s hard to see what is going on at times, you recognize enough to see KRAK kick butt and more.
While it won’t have you laughing as hard as you could be in comics like The Almighties, KRAK has a more mature humor with imagery you have never seen before. But while it brings some new laughs, this issue needs to slow down and do more showing than telling. Neither of these stories are bad, but they should not be shucked together when they need more time to develop.
KRAK should be available some time this June. I’ll tweet in preparation for it since it can be a good time, especially for fans of web and indie comics with action and some light humor coming from an insane situation and dialogue.