REVIEW: ‘Quarter Killer,’ Vol. 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Quarter Killer Vol 1

Quarter Killer Vol 1, an original comic published by Comixology, is written by Vita Ayala and Danny Lore, illustrated and colored by Jamie Jones,  and lettered and designed by Ryan Ferrier. In the near future, bounty hunter Quentin Kidd, better known as the “Quarter Killer”, is approached by Aya, a child who needs their help in locating her father. The Quarter Killer earned their name because they only take quarters as payment for their job; alongside their crew, they fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and often go toe to toe with corrupt megacorporations.

The cyberpunk genre has given birth to several films, television, and novels across the years, including the Blade Runner films,  Willam Gibson’s Neuromancer, and more recently the Altered Carbon series on Netflix. The Quarter Killer creative team puts their own spin on the genre, introducing elements of hip-hop and African-American culture. Rap music is used as a weapon, blasting from a digital turntable; one character, Hi-Top, has an electric blue afro in the style of Kidd N Play; and Quarter Killer’s shoes look like futuristic Chuck Taylors.

The biggest draw of the comic is the character work both Ayala and Lore pour into the world they’ve built. Quarter Killer is relatively relaxed and too cool for words at the same time; in contrast, their friend Hi-Top is overly excitable and flies by the seat of his pants. Rounding out the cast is Quarter Killer’s partner Lo-Tek, a stoic mechanic, the loveable Aya, who alongside her robot Sim-One can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and their ex Jax, who currently works for the super corporation that QK left.

Quarter Killer Vol 1

These characters make up a strange, but devoted family that always has each other’s back; whether it’s infiltrating a casino or rescuing each other from the clutches of certain doom. Most cyberpunk stories tend to have the main character suffer a crippling loss or work as a lone wolf, so it’s refreshing to see Ayala and Lore flip the script. Another change: seeing a non-binary Black queer protagonist in the genre, which more often than not has been populated by stubbly, handsome white men. Writers often tend to shape their stories using their own experience, and having two non-binary queer Black women create this world and this hero adds a new dimension to the genre.

Jones’ art must be seen to be believed. He gives an animated flair to the proceedings, especially during the fight sequences; you feel every kick and punch, and it feels like QK is actually moving as you turn the page. His character designs are also distinct: from QK’s red and white outfit, which resembles a kimono, and trademark shades to Hi-Tek’s aforementioned electric blue afro, these characters would have no problem standing out in a crowd. Jones also serves as the colorist, often utilizing the bright neon blues and pinks associated with the cyberpunk genre.

Ferrier, who serves as the letterer, also has the task of designing the logo for the series. The end result is reminiscent of the graffiti that often shows up in local neighborhoods. He employs a similar tactic to the lettering, particularly in the third issue when characters are being introduced. Each issue also has a “track” number similar to a mixtape, with black letters simulating the scrawl of a Sharpie.

Quarter Killer Vol 1 is a fresh, funny and engaging new take on the cyberpunk genre, mixing great character work with animated, eye-popping visuals. Fans of science fiction, video games, anime, and hip hop will definitely want to check it out.

Quarter Killer Vol 1 is available now on Comixology.

Quarter Killer, Vol. 1
5

TL'DR

Quarter Killer Vol 1 is a fresh, funny and engaging new take on the cyberpunk genre, mixing great character work with animated, eye-popping visuals. Fans of science fiction, video games, anime, and hip hop will definitely want to check it out.