Kato Annual #1

Story by
Art by
Edgar Salazar
Colors by
Ivan Nunes
Letters by
Simon Bowland
Cover by
Dynamite Entertainment

Haru Tanaka just wanted to bring his monster movies to America, the American way: bigger and bolder than any monster movie had ever done before. Producer Chip Huddleston brought him to America and put the resources at his disposal. Almost predictably, funding melts away and the construction of Tanaka's monster loses its direction.

The story itself is one about disappointment, but it certainly doesn't disappoint. Like his longtime creative collaborator, Phil Hester, Ande Parks has a knack to contribute entertaining stories that are on par with his artistic talent on the other side of the page. Quite simply, Parks is a very good writer.

It's a story we've all seen before, but it still tweaks at the heartstrings. Parks delivers an adversary for Kato to battle that evokes sympathy and genuine concern. Parks establishes that this is Kato's first week on the job. For the most part, Kato is a fun, lighthearted character with determination and grit, and her attempt to stop the Baku monster she encounters has some chuckle-worthy moments that helps this book take itself a lot less seriously than it should on the surface. Parks writes Kato as a very strong character and shows no pause in getting inside the character's mind and exposing her thought process. While the Ale Garza cover is over-the-top, emphasizing the female character's physical attributes, this issue does a terrific job of focusing on Kato as a character that is deeper than the puddles cause by snow melting here in Michigan.

Salazar's art is filled with detail without being forced or overtly phototraced. Kato, quite simply could be someone you'd bump into during a stroll through the Park and this makes the Baku monster that much more believable. Salazar's style is clean enough that the detail doesn't impede the action and his storytelling is crisp enough to let both play up the fullest extent.

I'm impressed with this effort and I'd like to see more from Salazar and Parks. The end of the issue, to me, was a disappointment in this regard, as it presented eight pages of script and pencil with unlettered full-color page insets. This seems redundant, especially given that I just read the book, and more story would have fit nicely here or perhaps, given that four pages would have been two full signatures in the book, the price could have been lowered and these pieces left out. All the same, I enjoyed the story contained in these pages and will certainly being keeping an eye out for more from this creative team.

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