To say that IDW Publishing has successfully revived the KISS comic franchise in a unique and entertaining manner would be an understatement. The band has become an energy that surpasses four physical bodies and now can be immortalized through the spiritual transportation of their mystical souls to other individuals… or possibly life forms? It's sort of like how the real group will live on for many more decades through countless tribute bands across the world. If fans get on board and stay onboard, there's no limit to the adventures we could see the "Four-Who-Are-One" embark on.
In the second story arc of the ongoing series (issues #3 and #4), "World Without Heroes," writer Tom Waltz takes us into an engrossing time of swords, sorcery, dragons, wizards, and fair maidens. Four opposing rulers control a land and its alienated natives. The discord between the overlords gives the sinister Destroyer a perfect opportunity to release his Chaos forces upon the world. The powerful Elder sends the keeper of the talismans, She, to summon the four rulers to join forces to defeat the Destroyer's evil scheme of world domination. Can the Demon, Starchild, Catman, and Celestial put aside their differences long enough to take down the barbarous General Black Diamond?
Artist Casey Maloney perfectly captures the awe and wonder of the fantasy world we've all come to know and love thanks to movies such as "Conan the Barbarian" and games like "Dungeons and Dragons." He does a great job visually integrating the four cosmic identities of KISS with this magical time. His engaging illustrations bring writer Waltz's words to vivid life.
Issue #5 kicks off the exciting new exploits of KISS as their essences are transferred into the strangest vessels yet… teenage girls. Series writer / editor Chris Ryall penned a two part arc that pays homage to the group's cult classic 1978 film, "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park."
Simply, entitled "KISS Meets the Phantom," Issue #5 pits the "Four-Who-Are-One" against a long-forgotten enemy from the past in the form of robotics genius Abner Devereaux and his "daughter," Christine Sixteen. Will the Demon, Starchild, Catman, and Celestial find a way to thwart Devereaux's depraved plans in the forms of four youthful females?
Wagner Reis takes over art duties and brings a different dynamic to the pages than what we got from Casey Maloney. It's not better, just different. Where Maloney's work was wonderfully cartoonish, Reis delivers realistic and more refined penciling. The illustrations seem slicker and meticulous as well.
I'm truly excited to see more uncharted territory delved into through this ongoing series. Chris Ryall is doing a great job at keeping things fresh with short story arcs. That factor gives new readers a chance to jump in easier than a multiple issue storyline would. I still want to see KISS's powers transferred into aliens or animals. I maintain my optimism that writers for the book will journey into this territory sooner than later.