If you don’t know the premise of “Killapalooza,” and can’t figure it out from the cover, here’s the high concept of the series: “A multi-platinum-selling rock band that uses its celebrity to cover its side gig as a high-paid super-powered contract killing outfit!”
That’s a direct quote from Axe, the frontman for “The Clap,” the very same rock band that’s actually a team of high-tech assassins.
Yes, this is a very stupid comic book.
I don’t use the word “stupid,” often. I can’t think of a time when I’ve used it in a CBR review. “Silly,” sure. “Ridiculous,” of course. “Idiotic,” maybe. “Stupid,” not so much. For me, “stupid” is a hateful word, one that implies utter condescension and a sense of outrage at being involved in the discussion in the first place. So when I say that “Killapalooza” #1 is a “very stupid comic book,” I’m fully aware of how strong that sounds.
But the problem is that “Killapalooza” knows its stupid and it seems to aspire to be nothing more. First of all, the premise is foolish, with no justification for why a rock band makes sense as a cover for a gang of assassins or why a successful rock band would want to bother with the whole assassin angle, other than the all-to-easy, “oh, they burned through all their money and need more.” Second, the characters constantly point out how cliched their dialogue is, and mock each other for being stereotypes, while at the same time they are completely cliche stereotypes. Third, the first issue underplays the more interesting assassin angle to focus on the much less interesting crybaby rockstar angle, stringing one parodic scene after another.
An emo band appears, and the Clap makes fun of them for being an emo band. A Marilyn Manson analogue appears, and they make fun of him for wearing make-up and dressing like “Elvira.” The opening act appears, and they are young and eager, and they are made fun of for being young and eager.
Instead of being a fun addition to the “‘kick’splode” genre, it’s like those guys who made “Epic Movie” and “Date Movie” tried to make a comic called “Rock and Roll Assassin Movie.” It’s one stupid gag after another, with nothing to hold them together other than the implausible high concept.
It might actually work in the hands of a Kyle Baker. It’s not too far, tonally, from the kinds of extreme parody he pulls of with gusto.
But this comic is drawn by Trevor Hairsine, who is quite a good artist but one whose Mark Texeira by way of Bryan Hitch style is far too gritty and realistic for the low-comedy antics of the characters. It’s a mismatch of artist and dialogue so jarring that it’s like watching a Kevin Smith screenplay directed by Martin Scorsese.
The humor’s unfunny in its obviousness and the action feels grafted on from some other type of comic. No, this is indeed a stupid comic, and it’s by far the worst thing I’ve seen from either Adam Beechen or Trevor Hairsine.