Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s edition of No Such Thing As Reviews! Otherwise known as Nickleback Should Take A Recess. I’m Ryan Atkinson and here on No Such Thing As Reviews I’ll be reviewing indie comics, t.v shows, movies and more! In our reviews we will include a brief overview of what will be reviewed, a summery of the content (spoiler alert!!) and my personal thoughts on the content including a rating out of 5 for the story and the artwork and if I would recommend it.
This week I’ll be reviewing America’s Kingdom from Gnosis Comics, written and created by Brian Hawkins, pencils done by Aris Gonzales and inks by James Hebert.
Normally I would put the parental discretion warning for books that require it in my thoughts after the summery, but I’ll put that here for this one. There are some pretty mature themes in this book that can’t be avoided completely in the review, so just keep that in mind!
This book is set in an alternate reality where instead of a democracy, U.S.A. was founded as a monarchy.
We open on a road chase. I say road chase and not car chase because while one of the people is on a motorcycle (wearing a helmet, +1 for safety), the other is chasing him on a horse (no helmet but he as a bow and arrow. +1 for bow and arrow). The two men are bobbing and weaving through traffic until up ahead of the man on the bike, we see another man atop a horse, running towards the driver and drawing his sword. The motorcycle rider then pulls out a handgun from inside his coat, which according to the swordsman is impossible.
The motorcycle rider then gets an arrow through his wrist. Of his gun hand! How can he gun with his gun hand all ganked up?! The archer then shoots out one of the riders tires, which sends him flying. The Knights (as we now know they are) approach the rider and the he cusses them RIGHT out.
Jump cut to the White House.. Er.. White Palace. We meet Prince Geoffrey who is the heir to the throne (uh oh) who is currently being felated beneath his desk. His executive assistant Marlena Laous exits the underside of the desk as he explains he doesn’t want to go through with his wedding his father arranged. Sir Anthony Niles, a member of the Prince’s Royal Guard then knocks on the door and enters Geoffrey’s office explaining the rider (a person of interest) was just brought in to custody by the two knights.
They make their way to the dungeon where the rider is being kept. We are told the riders name is Benedictine Arnold. The Prince then interrogates him as to where he got his gun as there hasn’t been a trace of a gun in U.S.A. in a decade. After a little more interrogation we learn Benedictine’s motives, he means to bring democracy to America. The Prince then orders Sir Niles to summon all present Dukes to the throne room as well as a single member of the media. He then orders the knights to bring Benedictine along as well.
We get to the Throne room and meet Isabella Robbins who is the Prince’s wife to be. We also are introduced to her father, Lord Alfred Robbins, Duke of the province of California. He notices Isabella is in the room and quickly ushers her out stating that she should not be there right now.
Geoffrey then appears, knights and prisoner in tow, thanking everyone for coming to his prelude to his wedding. He gives a speech about potential usurpers trying to bring in their nasty democracy, proclaiming them and anyone who believes in such nonsense traitors.
He gives the knight a glance, and the knight proceeds to cut off Benedictine’s head in front of the crowd.
Unfortunately Isabella didn’t make it out of the room in time and witnessed this.
The Prince then grasps the hair of the lifeless head, hoists it up for everyone to see while he sports a grin of satisfaction.
And that’s the end of book 1 of America’s Kingdom!
I’d like to start out my thoughts on this book with the elephant in the room (for me anyway).
This book is in full black and white. Which I’ve stated before I’m not a huge fan of but I can admit when it is done nicely.
Unfortunately in my opinion this wasn’t one of those times. And don’t get me wrong, the artwork isn’t bad, it’s more the shading that I have an issue with. This book suffers from what is my biggest issue with black and white comics and that there is way too damn much black thrown in.
There is no grey shading at all through this book, really. Just solid black and solid white. While in some instances that can work for sure, even in instances in this book but with so much of it, things can tend to look muddled together and it can take away from what is actually pretty great artwork.
I’m an indie comic writer myself, I understand reasons for having black and white. It’s much more cost effective for printing and for getting artwork done. Besides that, no doubt people in fact prefer their comics black and white!
It’s just not for me and this comic is a great example of it.
Like I said though, other than the shading the artwork is done really well.
The story was middle of the road for me, it’s taken elements from some familiar story lines and combined them but I still plan on reading ahead to the next couple issues to see how the story takes off, this is only issue one after all. The book has a lot of coarse language, like a LOT. While it doesn’t bother me at all, I feel that there’s enough of it that it should be mentioned for anyone who may be interested in reading the book.
My rating for the book is as follows
It would have scored higher if it just had a bit of grey shading throughout the book, not those solid chunks of black.
Like I said, the story starting out is just middle of the road for me mostly due to it seeming like just familiar stories cut together.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes historical fiction. The story is sort of bland starting out but I can see this book could have some potential and I’ll be checking out the following issues to see what the story plays out into.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get in contact with any of the creators for an interview, maybe in the future I can do a review for the following issues and have more luck getting ahold of them.
Thank you all for reading! If you’re an independent comic creator and would like to have your book reviewed please contact be directly at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you asap!
If you have any suggestions for next weeks alternate acronym (N.S.T.A.R.) leave a comment below!
I’ve been Ryan Atkinson and remember.. There’s no such thing as reviews!