Kingdom vol. 3 TPB: Aux Drift – Dan Abnett

5 out of 5

In the backmatter script provided for the first prog collected here, Dan Abnett describes a female character as “sexy and smart.”  Sigh.  Even the writers we love can’t help the casual sexism.  I should counter this by pointing out that the females in Kingdom aren’t really sexualized, but it’s a story about a freakin’ ripped dog mutant named Gene The Hackman who cuts up bugs and says “get whet,” so this be a testosterone-fueled story without much room for sexualization of anything.  And if this testosterone-fueled action romp that Dan and artist Richard Elson have been nursing into a thrill-a-page epic hadn’t otherwise become some damned fun and just smart enough to elicit chuckles and execute nifty plot quirks, well, maybe I’d knock off a star.

Alas…

Volume 3 – the titular story arc plus Beast of Eden – has Gene banding together with Aux and humans and leading a warpack to establish temporary (relative) piece around the finally-discovered Kingdom… only to tear it all down with mind-boggling swarms of Them.  The fairly purposefully dunderheaded setup of justifications for gloriously Elson-drawn, widescreen, bloody battles has casually morphed in to an interesting sci-fi story… and it’s especially evident here, with alpha dog Gene’s intelligence having expanded (though his mouth is still full of dumb) to witness an odd Them evolution, and some returning characters bringing with them unfortunate revelations…  And every page is either majestry of fight choreography or Abnett-honed dialogue that, as with Grey Area and Lawless, gets us right to the heart of the matter, generally with a wry joke or snark to spice things up.

Long Live Kingdom, Dan.  Let’s keep this battle alive for as long as possible.