cover image The Death of The Master

The Death of The Master

Patrick Kyle. Koyama, $19.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-927668-71-9

Kyle (Roaming Foliage) uses a simple, angular line in the service of this devastating satire of religion, industry, and arbitrary authority. It takes place in a society dominated by an eccentric Master, a cult leader whose every nonsensical utterance is taken as a pearl of wisdom and absolute truth. When he dies, an elaborate lattice of lies, contradictions, and pure Dada is unveiled to keep the workers obedient. Kyle mixes in scatological humor that not only humanizes the characters but reveals the sheer banality of the entire society. The action is episodic and character-specific, rotating vignettes between the lives of workers, artists, children, comically evil industrialists, and the Master’s closest disciples. Every one of them is either evil, vain, or deluded. Even the occasional skeptic knows he can’t voice any protest for fear of rebuke. Heads literally burst. When faced with a paranormal event, the effects of a society run on doublespeak make that miracle just another contradiction to absorb. Kyle’s experimental art, with its blobby animal-like characters and long sequences focused on abstract machines and its frequent repeated blank page breaks, is as weird as he’s established in prior books, but this graphic novel is surprisingly accessible. It delivers a savvy takedown, leveraging broad humor to expose the essential absurdity of everyday life spent at the whims of self-deluded narcissists. [em](Oct.) [/em]