Issue two of Oh, Killstrike dispenses with any further hand-holding for the uninitiated to the nuances of comics industry arcanum. Writer Max Bemis introduces analogues to Todd McFarlane, Jenette Kahn and/or Karen Berger and Alan Moore, all without explaining the significance of the references – because this is already issue two and really, where would you even begin? Moore is actually name-checked in addition to being parodied, which really sticks out as he’s the one actual comics industry person to be mentioned by their real name thus far. Is a fictionalized Alan Moore too far-fetched to believe without citing the one who truly exists?
All this new information is in service of the plot, which continues tying together disparate aspects of the comics world, but doesn’t build on the story. Killstrike and Jared’s Lenny-and-George relationship is the same as it was in the last few pages of issue one, except that Jared is apparently no longer afraid of him, which deflates a lot of the comic tension. Once again there’s a couple really good jokes but most of them are merely okay and aren’t very specific to the chosen subject matter of bad 90s comics. Which is too bad because the ones that do, like an opening goof on the “women in refrigerators” trope, are dead on.
Killstrike’s physicality continues to be more distracting than anything in the practical questions it ignores. When out in public, people regard him as simply a body-builder type, despite the fact he’s obviously inhumanly huge. One scene has him trashing two goons in a bar. Would they even survive being hurled across the room by this giant, or is there some kind of cartoon physics at play? Also, he can see word balloons. Is that an acknowledgement that the comic we’re reading isn’t “the real world” Killstrike has jumped into, but another comic book? It doesn’t feel like Bemis has any intention to go fully meta-fictional; his breaking of the fourth wall is just a quick throwaway gag.
Artist Logan Faerber and colorist Juan Manuel Tumburús do some very nice work on their New York City locations and crowd scenes. It would be preferable to have clearer distinctions between Killstrike himself and Jared’s “normal” world. His muscles still look like lumpy mashed potatoes and his “action” scenes are equally awkward. Faerber also goes a little overboard adding manga-style action descriptions on top of his drawings; when one character winks it looks like the word “WINK!” was actually tattooed on the bridge of her nose next to her eye socket.
Oh, Killstrike continues to be funny and clever enough, just not yet quite as much of either as the premise promises.
Writer, Max Bemis; artist, Logan Faerber; colorist, Juan Manuel Tumburús; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.