Comic Book Review: Killeroo Triple Threat (Book 1, Book 2 and Gangwar)
Twitter is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? My local comic book store tweeted that an Australian comic book, Killeroo, was taking submissions for an anthology set in a universe of Australian bikers, gang wars, and a giant mutant kangaroo called Rufus. Needless to say, this caught my eye and my imagination.
At the time, I didn’t know anything about Killeroo, so I reached out to the intra-ma-nets machine to try and get my hands on the back issues. I found the Killeroo website and store, and before I knew it I had the three published black-and-white issues in my grubby little mitts (not to mention a personalized sketch on the envelope, worth framing in itself).
So the basic premise of Killeroo is a big mutant kangaroo that rides around the deserts and cities of Australia with a gang of bikers called the Outback Warriors. Every time they come across a rival motorbike gang, the Warriors kick ass and take names. So where is this kangaroo man from? Is he from space? Evolved from radio-active goo? A science experiment? Well, up to this point, we just don’t know.
Killeroo: Book One sports two stories, one (Hard Day’s Night by Darren Close, Alberto Diaz, Evan Jacobson and Damien Shanahan) focusing on an adult Rufus in a bar room brawl, and another (Killeroo Jr. by Close, Danny Mcglick and Jon Sommariva), which gives us a glance at Rufus as a rebelious, skating teenager. Oh and Killeroo: Book One sports a Ben Templesmith cover to die for (not to mention bonus stuff like pin-ups and sketchbook pages)!
Killeroo: Book Two takes a slightly different approach, with six shorter stories. Book Two gives us a hint of Rufus’ origin, shows us what he does on his night off, has him go toe-to-toe with another mutant (or does he?), shows off his passion for AFL, takes us deep into the emotional side of the character, and finishes with a good laugh.
But to me, the highlight of the three comics is the latest one: Killeroo Gangwar.
Killeroo Gangwar is a single, self-contained story and keel like this is where Rufus will really find his footing. Darren Close (the creator of Killeroo) takes the wheel writing this piece with some pretty nice art by Paul Abstruse. Now what sets this issue apart from Book One and Two (besides the extra glossy pages) is the overall feel of the story.
What Close has done with Killeroo Gangwar is used a faceless narrator who is telling us the story. Without being redundant, we get a rich tale that makes you feel like you’re actually sitting around a campfire with a wise old man retelling a tale of his youth or something. This approach really brought the story to life for me and reminded me of the narration of Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior.
Killeroo Gangwar really opened up the potential of how great this comic and character can be. I think, with this sort of care and quality, Killeroo has the potential to become for Australia what Judge Dredd is to the UK. It’s got an original character, is iconic and set in a unique world.
Now the future of Killeroo will be an annual anthology called Killeroo: Gangwars (and not sure when the first issue hits, but I personally submitted a script that will hopefully see its way into the first issue).
Australia does not have a good track record as far as comic books are concerned. I’ve tried some and been grossly disappointed, but Killeroo has given me hope and I’m going to try and find more good Aussie comics.
So if you’re after something a little different, I recommend you get your hands on the Killeroo comics. You can score them from the Killeroo store.
And did I mention the personalized sketch on the envelope you get when you order?