Baking In Californian Poverty With Killer Groove #1

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
A man is ambushed in his apartment in California and narrowly escapes with his life. We then join Johnny, a failed musician who performs at a bar when he’s not cleaning the place. After a shift, he finds a man being attacked by another. Johnny panics and kills the attacker. The would-be victim turns out to be a hitman, and he gives Johnny his business card. Elsewhere in the city, a young girl named Lucy goes to a private investigator in the hopes of receiving some help finding her missing father.

Killer Groove #1 cover by Eoin Marron and Triona Farrell
Killer Groove #1 cover by Eoin Marron and Triona Farrell

Killer Groove #1 takes us back in time to a California where love and revolution are still in the air and music is primarily made by hippies.
Unfortunately for Johnny, he isn’t of the hippies who made it big; he’s just scraping by.
Killer Groove #1 doesn’t tilt it’s whole hand on the opening issue. It introduces the characters in the drama, but it doesn’t show how their lives will collide and to what degree. You get the impression Johnny may become a hitman too, but the rest of the tale is still very shrouded in mystery.
Johnny does make for a good lead character. He’s sad, broke, and aging, ad he’s not the kind of protagonist you usually get in a comic. Lucy is a good character too; she’s self-sufficient, impatient, and more than a little angry at the world.
Weirdly enough, Killer Groove #1 never outright states its time or place; you just kind of have to intuit the setting. I do think it would be better to just come out and say it, but there is something interesting about the book asking you to put the pieces together itself.
Killer Groove #1 art by Eoin Marron, Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Hasson Otsmane-Elhaou
Killer Groove #1 art by Eoin Marron, Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Hasson Otsmane-Elhaou

Eoin Marron gives the book a gritty art style fitted to the poverty and misfortune shown throughout the comic. The art focuses on the dirt, detritus, and scars each character has. The shading does a lot for the atmosphere and tone too. Jordie Bellaire gives the book an often-bright color treatment, as if the California sun is bearing down on the characters of Killer Groove.
Killer Groove #1 puts out a sad yet compelling narrative with its opening issue. Johnny, Lucy, and the others are losers just barely squeaking by, and the only path out of misfortune seems to be a violent one. In any case, this one gets a recommendation. Check it out.
Killer Groove #1 comes to us from writer Ollie Masters, artist Eoin Marron, color artist Jordie Bellaire, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, cover artist Eoin Marron with Triona Farrell, and variant cover artists Cliff Richards with Irma Kniivila; and Declan Shalvey.
Final Score: 8/10

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