Review of “KINO” from Lion Forge Comic’s Catalyst Prime line.

This is the the Experience some. . .call Jason. Today I’m continuing my series on Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime universe. We’ll be talking about the first four issues of KINO, the Sixth title in the line. It launched in November.

KINO is written by Joe Casey and drawn by Jefte Palo.

Issue one begins by introducing us to Agent Gilmore he’s waiting on a bench in a Foresight Research Facility to talk to Lorena Payan during a talk with the receptionist we find out he has English or at least has a Bristol accent. When Lorena and he talk you find that despite introducing himself as Agent Gilmour he hasn’t said who he works for. Lorena says she’ll just assume MI6 and move on. They recount the what happened to the astronauts from the Event.

Gilmour mentions that the assumption that none of them where coming home may have been premature and that they had info that one of the bodies, a Major Alistair Meath who is English, had been found and that she had it. She denies of course and ends the interview. Everyone parts pleasantly enough but right afterward Lorena and two of her flunkies go down to where the body is suppose to be and it and the tank it’s it are gone.

We switch to Gilmour who’s on the phone in some sort of transport with a squad of heavily armed men and the tank with Meath’s body. The pilot calls out that a bogie is on an intercept course for the plane even though it’s cloaked.

From outside we see that they’re in a helicopter and coming up behind them is a very high tech looking helicopter it opens fire killing most of the men in the british chopper. Gilmour manages to parachute out and opens fire on the attacker with his pistol only to have his chute shot up causing him to plummet toward the ground. We see the the british chopper crash and Gilmour’s chute stuck in a tree with him on the ground looking rough but moaning to show he’s alive. The tank with Meath is undamaged.

A month later in the Democratic Republic of Algeria we see a man in a lab and a voice noting the beginning of some process that involves neurological technobabble before commencing programmed event sequence.

We then get nine or ten pages of what looks and feels like an early 60’s comic. The line art doesn’t change but the coloring looks like an old four color comic. We see KINO, clearly Major Meath at a ribbon cutting ceremony while someone in the same costume that we see Meath in on the cover of the book leaves a lab and attacks the city. There’s a fight and while KINO gets pretty roughed up he eventually knocks the man in to orbit. Check out the body he recognizes it which allows him to trace it back to the source. Busting into a lab he takes a man, Aturo Assante into custody. Aturo appears as the man we saw before this retro sequence.  The program ends and Assante walks down to the lab where Meath is being kept. Telling his men this is genetic engineering at its finest. Using the raw material of a man who touched the stars and beyond the world will finally have the hero it deserves.

Issue two starts with us switching between Agent Gilmour, Devlin Gilmour we learn, and Meath in Assante’s lab. Gilmour is recovering in a hospital and Assante is still monologuing about Meath and the work they’re doing with/to him. Some of his men are worried that they could tax his mind to much and he could have a psychotic snap. Assante tells them he knows the risk but that this is also a test of the Major as he “has to be ready”. We also see that they have left Algeria and are now on a space station of some kind.

Devlin Gilmour having recovered makes a report to his boss. Telling him what he saw and that he doesn’t believe the craft that attacked them was from Foresight. How ever his Boss concludes that Foresight is still their best lead.

At Foresight we see Payan shipping other specimens off to various parts of the world. She’s scattering them since they’re not clearly not safe in this facility. At the same time Agent Gilmour is visiting Patricia Meath to tell her about her husband. After his visit we return to the Major and go in to the retro portion of the issue. Where KINO faces off against some Robots or powered armor with a bee motif. He defeats them only to find they are piloted by insect people who then launch an invasion. His mind starts to reject the simulation at this point and it crashes. We see Aturo’s lab techs rushing to stabilize him before he has a full psychotic break.  

The issue ends with Payan’s two flunkies walking into a dive bar to recruit a rather rough looking fellow.

Issue three starts out bouncing back and forth between the flunkies recruiting a Mr. Clarence T. Coal, whom we saw at the end of the previous issue, and him walking in to his high tech well armed base. They wish to hire him to find some stolen property. As we see him going over his arsenal in his base I believe we may have found Catalyst Prime’s “Deathstroke/Deadshot” analog.  We’re also shown Gilmour doing research on Payan and Coal using info Foresight gave him to track they’re property. The retro portion involves KINO fighting a bunch of boy scout knockoffs (Cobra Scouts) at an airport. They turn out to be robots and He notices the crowds reactions are a bit off. He decides he needs to see his family. He feels like he hasn’t seen them in forever.

In issue four we see a lot of Arturo and his techs working on Meath as Coal breaks into a facility. The Retro comic style simulation this time has KINO arriving at home to have dinner with his wife and children. He almost immediately realizes something is off. He recognizes them all but they’re not acting right, it’s as if he in an idealized version of his home life. These thought are interrupted as a villain, who looks like a cross between a cultist with a cobra motif and Doctor Octopus burst through his wall.

They fight as you see the techs in the real world working away and more of Coal’s break in. They flip back and forth implying it’s all happening at the same time but when Coal finally gets in we find it’s a Foresight facility and Payan is inside waiting for him. This was only a test. It’s a nice fake out as you kept expecting him to interrupt Arturo’s work.

Even without an interruption the simulation is starting to fall apart and KINO is starting to have trouble processing things and wonders if he’s dreaming. Things get bad to the point that Arturo goes into the simulation himself. He appears in something very similar to Lex Luthor’s powered armor. As he talks to KINO the major recognizes that he’s different from the others in the simulation. The fight also seems to be taxing the system as there is less and less background behind them. KINO finally begins tearing off parts of Arturo’s armor as the system warns of imminent collapse. Arturo is upset saying “it’s not suppose to happen like this!”

Outside the simulation things are shorting out and generally going bad as the computer shuts down and Meath retreats into his subconscious. One tech says the preprograming is all gone and another is unsure of how much Meath will remember or have assimilated. Arturo seems both impressed with Meath and worrisome that they may have pushed him to far.  

Over all KINO has an interesting mystery in that you don’t know why everyone wants the Major so bad. The British seem to just want their national hero’s body back but are also real curious as to what Payan was planning to do with it. Arturo is clearly trying to make a iconic hero out of him but why? Why does he keep saying we’ll need him and of course why does Payan want him back.What was she going to do with him.

The downside of the story is that it’s such a slow burn so far. I have hope that it’ll really kick off soon but for now it’s kind of dragging. The retro comic bits where cute for the first couple of issues but it’s getting old now. It feels like we’re just getting side character plot advancement but nothing from the hero. I really want to know what’s going on but if something doesn’t start to happen soon I may wind up dropping this one.

Also KINO may have my least favorite art out of all the books so far. It’s just not good. Not total garbage but not anything I look forward to seeing it’s just sort of barely adequate. Now unlike Accell where the art is very inconsistent from one page to the next, KINO is barely adequate all the way through. I’m not sure which is bothers me more.

So in the end at four dollars a pop I’d have a hard time recommending this one. With the slow burn nature of the story you’re going to have spent some cash before you really know if it’s even anything your interested in. I’m going to hang on for at least the first arc to wrap up and then we’ll see.

Be here next time when we finish up this series with “Summit” One of the astronauts returned from the Event. See what’s she been up to in the most recent new book from Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime universe.

 

-Jason

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