[Comic Review] Black Kiss 2 #1-3

Black Kiss 2 #1Let’s start off by saying I’ve never read Howard Chaykin’s Black Kiss. I have no previous knowledge of what this particular trade did to the market in the late 1980’s. Bearing that in mind, I had no idea what to expect when I picked up issues #1-3 of Black Kiss 2, it’s prequel, released by Image Comics. My only knowledge of this series going in was third hand, noted by a friend as we passed the floppy on the wall of a local comic store a couple of weekends ago. All that was exchanged was, “…number two I hear is banned in the U.K.” From that moment on, it didn’t matter what this series entailed, my interest was piqued.

That being said, my impression of Black Kiss 2 #1 is: it’s interesting. I dig the black and white. Now, don’t get my wrong, I love the visual pop of color. But, something about the black and white, and even some of the grittiness of Chaykin’s work comes out when devoid of colored ink.

The story itself is also a bit…different. Multi-penis-tentacled she-demon aside, Chaykin’s work look at America is one I found compelling. Tearing apart society and looking at it for what it is:  vile and contemptous. Everyone has something to hide, and even those that pretend to be clean or just as dirty as the rest.

This floppy is…rather…in your face. It’s graphic. Plain and simple. Not for young audiences and not for those with no interest in sex and violence. Within just the first two pages, the reader is confronted with panels chock full of sex and exposed genitalia. That aside, if it’s something you can get passed, the idea of the series thus far seems sound. Whether or not it will measure up to its predecessor I don’t know. As it’s a six-part series, we’ll find out soon enough.

Rating: 6/10 Gingered Digits.

Black Kiss 2 #2Continuing on with Black Kiss 2 #2, we fast-forward a bit, still dated in the early 1900’s. This time, we take a meandering through the seedy side of Hollywood. Here, nothing is left to the imagination…unfortunately. That fact alone deters from the readers “enjoyment” if you will. Some fading to black would have enhanced my take from this issue, as sometimes, it’s what’s left to the imagination that can be more disturbing.

Here, everything from penis-biting to a shot of bestiality is flashed before your eyes. Graphic sex scenes combined with a handful of scenes already described have brought my hopes down considerably for this series.

Again, I enjoy the black and white artwork, maturity level aside. That’s about the only redeeming factor for #2, as it lacks in story. We following along partially with a character from issue #1. But, it seems, at least for this issue, we’re looking more at the shock and awe factor rather than substance.

Rating: 2/10 Gingered Digits.

Black Kiss 2 #3Lastly, we take a look at Black Kiss 2 #3. This issue we move forward to a mid 1900’s, starting chapter five off in 1947 Paris, France then on to the underbelly of Orange County California in the late 1950’s. Although sex runs rampant in this issue, and even re-introduces the penis-biting of #2, it’s a little bit easier to get through.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what direction Chaykin is going with this series. I mildly enjoyed #1, found myself all but hating #2 and am currently left scratching my head after reading #3. Is this going to be a series I continue? Well…yes. I’ve made it halfway through, and even given Chaykin’s sick and twisted mind…I’m still a little curious as to what end #6 will bring.

I can understand the reviews this series is currently receiving. Having not read the original Black Kiss clear back when, I have no need to reminisce. It it wasn’t for the fact I was curious over the whole “…banned in the U.K.” shtick, I would have kept walking past it on the wall. And now, my O.C.D. at having to finish a story arc engaged. An O.C.D. that, in this case, I may end up wanting to kick myself…or even gouge out my own eyeballs…by the end.

This is, #3, is better than the previous. However, a word of advice for the curious minds out there. If you’re looking for substance and a good story, so far, don’t bother. If you’re buying it based off the covers, you’re in for a world of hurt as it’s moved passed just being an adult-rated book.

To be honest, I can’t even remember what I expected to find here. But, whatever it is, I’m left shaking my head.

Rating: 4/10 Gingered Digits.

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