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'Kill All Immortals' #1 swings for your face with a bold and bloody debut

Comic Books

‘Kill All Immortals’ #1 swings for your face with a bold and bloody debut

Somehow the ample bloodshed isn’t even the best part!

There’s lots of things to be excited about regarding Kill All Immortals. Heck, I wrote some 4,000 words about it, so clearly I’m extra jacked.

It could be that the team (writer Zack Kaplan, artist Fico Ossio, colorist Thiago Rocha, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou) have struck upon a really novel idea, creating a kind of extra bloody Succession but with unkillable Viking warriors. It’s maybe a little cheesy or overly direct, but you really can’t really fault the kind of John Wick-ian charm and bonkers vibe that is carried with this mere premise. It’s the thing that makes or breaks a book, and Kill All Immortals has had that clear sense of self from day one that makes you want to leap in head first.

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Once you’ve actually taken said leap, the team actually delivers on exactly what you’d want. Visually, there’s so much style and blood packed into this book. From brutally beheading your enemies in some office/boardroom to the majesty of your own private billionaire island, the sheer look of this book promises us glitz and gore in equal measure. And from that dynamic, we’re made to feel excited and unnerved, happy but a little uncertain, and that exact kind of tension is what makes Kill All Immortals this really effective thought experiment for big concepts like the overreach of corporate America, our dangerous relationship with the billionaire class, and how we’d all spend our lives if time and money were clearly never an issue (hopefully not as CEO warlords). Even the balance between old-world and new in the character designs is a massive step in this book grounding itself in important context/history.

Kill All Immortals

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

And it’s not just how it all looks, either, as you could just as easily love the writing here. I think Kaplan has a certain ear for dialogue and also how that works rather specifically in comics. That approach recreates the best parts of Succession (the catty drama, the double-speak, the way fights/confrontations feel so layered) and gives it that appropriately bloody spin. It’s the kind of prestige TV-esque drama we’all binge in a heartbeat, and Kaplan can hold his own even when the axes start swinging and we might forget that this is a powerful story of family and self-growth under all that madness. It’s all the wonderfully cheesy but nonetheless potent story that is rich and rewarding, and it makes these big movements to grab your attention amid the overarching concept and to really announce its significance with generally impressive results. We need that glowing ore of life under the bloody visual wonders, and there’s so much here.

Yet, as I really tried to make clear in my giant interview/feature, there’s so much bubbling here that had me even more excited for Kill All Immortals. If those things I mentioned were all I or anyone else ever took away from this book, it’d still be a deeply rewarding experience (like watching Speed if it were directed by Paul Thomas Anderson or something).

Here are the things, I believe, that will make Kill All Immortals a proper standout and sharper than a 1,000-year-old axe:

Kill All Immortals

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Frey as a whole: As the only child of Erik to escape the family business, it’ll be interesting to see how Frey continues to balance the two world she occupies. She’s already shown to be this wonderfully complicated, multifaceted person, who toes the line with a grace, warmth, and even humor that should serve her well as the process grows ever more dynamic and painful.

Our roving reporter Owen Jabari: This is one of the aspects of Kill All Immortals that has me super jazzed. Not only is Owen a really good counter to Frey — he’s about finding hard truths when maybe she’d rather hide from them — but he introduces this book’s interest in journalism. Specifically, the ideas of transparency and the power of knowledge in a world that often obfuscates with money and lies. He’s clearly going to be in over his head, but I think Owen already has the force and charm to be a big player in a book with immortal Viking warriors.

The business perspective: On the one hand, talking about corporate greed seems a little obvious given the (awful) state of things. Still, in our chat, Kaplan discussed things in a way that had me feeling like he’d have a more novel approach. That Kill All Immortals isn’t just about condemning the billionaires, but using immortality to explore generational trauma and also how some of these issues developed over time. Not to excuse greed and the like, but place it in a context where we can really grapple with what we can all do to better understand our overlords and right this ship.

Kill All Immortals

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

The family really matters: It’s especially early on for this point, but it’s not just Frey (and also Owen) that’s already well-developed but her whole fully bloodthirsty family. The youngest brother, Steinn, especially smacks of Succession‘s Roman Roy in the very best ways, and I’m intrigued to see how that robust mix of charm and psychopathy really develops and how it plays against Frey in her own path to coming to terms with all of this madness. Like the stuff with corporate America, it’s nice to have more well-rounded bad guys to engage with than some one-note thugs/jokes.

Regardless of why you’re excited about this book, Kill All Immortals seemingly has so much to offer so early on in its run. There’s gore and heart; explorations of capitalism and transparency; ample family and romance; and, the thing we can all agree on every single time, sick sword/axe fights. It’s a book that is deceivingly complex without feeling overwhelming in its efforts, and it’s made to test our understandings and assumptions as much as it is merely to entertain. So come for whatever reason that piques your interest, but just be clear that Kill All Immortals is bloody good regardless.

'Kill All Immortals' #1 swings for your face with a bold and bloody debut
‘Kill All Immortals’ #1 swings for your face with a bold and bloody debut
Kill All Immortals #1
Turns out, there's heaps and heaps to admire when the corporate drama and viking mayhem come crashing together with heart and purpose galore.
Reader Rating1 Votes
The art team has built this world with care and precision, and it sets the stage for powerful set pieces to explore.
The thematic interests here prove really interesting, and I can't wait to see what this book really has to say.
Every character feels well-rounded enough, and the cast is alive and capable of handling this book's various interests/ideas.
The book may run slow for some, and it'll take time before everything potentially pays off.
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