Killadelphia #1 review: Gritty and Great Urban Vampire Story

Review by Jeffrey Venture

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Writer: Rodney Barnes Interior and Cover Artist: Jason Shawn Alexander Colorist: Luis NCT Letterer: Marshall Dillon

Synopsis: When a small-town beat cop comes home to bury his murdered father—the revered Philadelphia detective James Sangster Sr.—he begins to unravel a mystery that leads him down a path of horrors that will shake his beliefs to their core. The city that was once the symbol of liberty and freedom has fallen prey to corruption, poverty, unemployment, brutality… and vampires.

Thanks to Image Comics for providing a copy for review!

The gritty and messy style found in the urban vampire tale of Killadelphia set the scene for a poverty, drug, and crime-ridden Philadelphia where something even darker stalks the night.

We get dueling narratives from the father, James Sangster Sr., and the son, Jim Sangster Jr., both working as cops in Philadelphia. We learn the fate of James on the first couple of pages, and mostly follow Jim throughout the volume as he learns more about the strange cases his father was pursuing.

For a brief moment, the narrative is taken over by incumbent mayor of the city, J.T. Gaskins, a self-aware and deeply narcissistic leader. The brief glimpse offers no resolution, and we can only assume further volumes will build on his story.

We get quite a few pages of Jim reading through his father’s journal which eventually leads him to his father’s grave with a shovel and a stark realization. This writer won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll tell you the pay-off on the final page was chill-inducing.

I would have liked to see more of the unique juxtapositions of uncommon comic frames like the email draft on the first page throughout the book, but the scattered arrangement of frames throughout the volume was a nice touch to the gritty and disjointed story and setting.

The coloring on the narrative boxes does a decent job at distinguishing who has control of the narrative throughout the book, but with James and Jim looking so similar, it was still a little difficult to follow along with who’s who on the first read.

Overall, this is a great read, and the twist at the ending has me wanting to find out if (but most likely how) Jim plans to complete his father’s work.

Killadelphia #1 will be available at your local comic book shop on November 27th.


Jeffrey Venture is a noob gamer, okay writer, comic book enthusiast, and social media fiend, and he co-hosts the Dungeons Mastered podcast. You can connect with him on Twitter, where he mostly posts memes for D&D and all things internet culture.

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