WEDNESDAY COMICS: Burger-flipping heist book TRUE KVLT reaches its finale – Comics Beat

Plus, Dead Seas #1, Groo: Gods Against Groo, the newest Star Trek comic, Vanish, and more!
This week’s lead review for Wednesday Comics is TRUE KVLT #5, a finale for the fast food heist comics from IDW Publishing. In addition, the Wednesday Comics Team has a rundown of the new #1s and finales from non-Big 2 publishers, all of which you can find below … enjoy!
Co-Creator/Artist: Liana Kangas
Co-Creator/Writer: Scott Bryan Wilson
Colors: Gab Contreras
Letters: DC Hopkins
Promotion/Branding: Jazzlyn Stone
Color Assists: Jimmy Savage
Publisher: IDW Publishing
I love when a book’s total end product equals its thematic depth, whether intentional or not. Sometimes I feel it is not always about every stop along the way, but rather that we arrived to our destination at all. In Trve Kvlt’s initial Kickstarter run, co-creators Liana Kangas and Scott Bryan Wilson pitched the book’s themes as “apathy and unhappiness and the need to sometimes reset everything,” and I cannot agree more.
Trve Kvlt is all the more stronger for this, to be quite honest.

If you enjoyed the four issue self-published run thanks to Jazzlyn Stone’s brilliant marketing stratagem or found yourself drawn to the five issue monthly from IDW, let’s catch up on these home fries: Marty, our career fast food clerk, plots a caper for his lunch break in #1. But plans, as they so often do, go awry resulting in him and Alison (she’s new here) getting kidnapped by The Church of The Immortal Heartbeat (read: a cult). In #2, Bernice, Marty’s co-worker/bff, tracks down the two while they are interrogated, gaslit, and blackmailed into doing some lite assassination. In #3, Marty and Alison infiltrate the cult HQ while Bernice roughs up a cult usurper who goes by Veronika. By #4, Satan is summoned from a 45, Bernice and Veronika make way to the rescue, and Marty/Alison get the hell out of dodge! It is here in issue #5 where there is a marked departure from what has become Trve Kvlt’s norm.
What Team Kvlt serves in their first four is nothing short of a consummate consommé of comics. Kangas lays a foundation of efficient and communicative page layouts, sacrificing lineart for clever cinematography and purposeful character acting. Wilson pipes enough near-autobiographical monologues and food critique that immersion is not an aspiration but what grounds the increasingly ludicrous farce. DC Hopkins’ word balloons season the negative space in Kangas’ layouts with such deft hands that you forget how many of them blow past 28 words a balloon to be entranced in how many of them nail conversational pacing. Colorist Gab Contreras and color-assist Jimmy Savage jack the spice levels of Kangas’ inks into an immaculately subversive tone for a book about the woes of minimum wage labor and how dead-end mentality oppresses (or gets folks to join a cult!). Who knew a book about apathy and the pitfalls of manual labor would be so vibrant, well planned, and efficiently produced!

But in issue #5, plans — as they so often do — go awry…even for our Team Kvlt (and Trve Kvlt is all the more stronger for this)!
Gone are the carefully laid balloons, instead replaced with some compromises that unintentionally confuse reading order and return us to our disbelief. Gone are the clever page layouts, instead scrounging and settling for four wide panels that stagnate the climax. Gone are the dramatic color moods, instead relying on gradients and glows to make the supernatural elements pop at the cost of tone. Gone is the pacing we got used to, replaced with denouement focused on subverting its own loose ends to the point its ending leaves a bitter and trite taste that was frankly absent in all previous issues.

The burger flipping heist book starts much like fast food: promising, provocative, filling. Then, as we dive into its morsels, it is tasty, wants to be consumed, and demands our hunger. But near the end of its offerings, it sits heavy, greasy, laden with fluff that at once felt attractive, and finishes with an unsatisfying palate. For a book about apathy, it took my earnest ear and my unending enthusiasm only to leave me reeling and a little longing– not for more, but for a second try at the ending.
Like I said, I love when a book’s total end product equals its thematic depth, whether intentional or not, and I truly cannot wait for Team Kvlt’s next work.
Verdict: BUY
Beau Q.
Wednesday Comics is edited by Zack Quaintance.
Read more entries in the Wednesday Comics series!
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