REVIEW: ‘Killadelphia’, Volume 1 – Sins of the Father

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Killadelphia Volume 1

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father, written by Rodney Barnes, illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander, colored by Luis NCT, and lettered by Marshall Dillon, is published by Image Comics.  James Sangster Jr. uncovers a journal detailing the last case his late father worked on-and stumbles upon a startling truth: His father is still alive. And vampires walk among us, led by none other than former president John Adams. Adams intends to begin a new world order with the city of Philadelphia as ground zero and the Sangsters are the only obstacle in his path.

From beginning to end, Killadelphia Volume 1 draws you in with a blend of horror and history. Barnes effortlessly blends a father and son story with a new twist on the vampire mythos. The usual weaknesses that can kill a vampire, such as a stake to the heart and the sun, are rooted in the classical elements. Likewise, the history of America-particularly its foundation and the life of Adams-are given a horrific spin. Barnes is a storyteller who knows how to perfectly pace his tale; the shocks feel shocking and the emotional beats land with the force of a sledgehammer.

These emotional beats are particularly heavy when it comes to the Sangsters’ relationship, as well as young vampire Tevin Thomas. James Jr had a rather prickly relationship with his father, which stems from his mother’s death; given that his father is now a vampire, things haven’t gotten easier. Likewise, Tevin finds himself questioning Adams’ motives, especially when the body count starts to increase. Stories like these often showcase the downside to immortality, and I’m glad Killadelphia didn’t shy away from that.

Alexander helps bring Rodney’s scripts to life with scary, yet eye-catching artwork. Alexander is no stranger to horror comics, having served a lengthy stint on Spawn with Todd McFarlane. His vampires are the stuff of nightmares: sunken yellowish eyes, long razor-sharp fangs, and chalky white skin. He also gets a kick out of drawing fight scenes; gore abounds as hearts are punctured with stakes and blood flows like a river. This book is NOT for the faint of heart.

Rounding out the creative team is NCT on colors. NCT uses a muted palette to set the mood; most of the book takes place at night, which makes the vampires even more horrifying. NCT saves his bright colors for the vampires’ feeding frenzy; this leads to several jaw-dropping scenes where blood flies across the page-literally. It is also great to see a book with a majority of African-American characters that have different skin tones, ranging from light brown to the charcoal color of newly turned vampires.

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father is a perfect blend of historical fiction and vampire legends, with an emotional father/son story at the core. Horror aficionados and history buffs alike will want to pick up this book; as director Jordan Peele says on the cover quote, “This feels like a classic.” Image Comics has yet another hit on its hands.

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father is available wherever comics are sold and through Comixology via our affiliate link.

Killadelphia Volume 1
5

TL;DR

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father is a perfect blend of historical fiction and vampire legends, with an emotional father/son story at the core. Horror aficionados and history buffs alike will want to pick up this book; as director Jordan Peele says on the cover quote, “This feels like a classic.” Image Comics has yet another hit on its hands.