King City

Brandon Graham, Author . Tokyopop $9.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59816982-9

This bit of tongue-and-cheek third-generation fight manga is wondrously fun, but difficult to classify. The hero, Joe, employs a magic cat, Earthling J. J. Cattingworth the Third, to do his fighting, lock picking and spy-gizmo work. (PETA members, beware—Joe makes the cat "work" by flinging syringes full of drugs at it.) Joe and his friend Pete do jobs for various shady characters, until Pete falls in love with a water-breathing alien he is charged to deliver to a club for nefarious purposes. Meanwhile, Joe is spying on mob bosses who eat cannibal sushi. Joe and his cat meet a Sasquatch named Lukashev who spent his youth "as part of a super-naut program, along with a chupacabra and a dinosaur from the future." The fun with words points to an older audience, but the humor has juvenile moments (at one point, Joe uses the cat as a periscope by looking up its butt). The art, while not sophisticated, has a funky sense of movement that suits the hilarious whole. Where Graham really succeeds is in making readers care about these oddballs, especially when Joe risks his life to save his ex-girlfriend from a bad guy (if you can imagine throwing a drugged cat at a mobster as a dramatic moment). (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/16/2007
Release date: 01/01/2008
Genre: Fiction
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