When I started reading Continental Kings, I purposely tried not to know much about its plot. However from the get go, I found myself enthralled with the story that author had created. This indie comic starts on a bit of a sad note but very soon after you are thrust into a world of action and heroism by the protagonist, Joe Layman.
Mr. Layman – or Mr. Lame Man as Tenderfoot Jessie rudely calls him – is on a mission to find his loved ones. Continental Kings features your standard “unlikely hero tries to save the world story that most comic books have. However, the humour and unique art style make this one stand out as something different.
Failure Turned Hero
We learn straight off the bat that Joe has failed getting into college and is pretty down with himself. Directly after we see the rejection letter, someone known as Demo attacks the city. You are meant to feel a bit bad for Joe and – if I’m going to be honest – I did. I could tell the character was upset, which goes to show the artist’s skill. I love how they could instantly make me feel for the character, despite only just being introduced to him.
When the attack happens, Joe’s first thought is about his loved ones and not himself. He instantly rushes to find them and saving himself doesn’t cross his mind. Along the way, he hears screams for help at a crossroad and – with barely any hesitation -runs to help the person in need. This turns out to be Jessie, a pushy boy scout who’ is real sensitive when it comes to people not calling him by his scout rank: “tenderfoot”; the lowest one!
Once Joe and Tenderfoot Jessie find Joe’s girlfriend’s roommate, everything amps up. Upon finding her, they see she’s frozen solid. Deciding the sun will thaw her out, they take her outside only to finally run into Demo.
Who Are the Continental Kings?
This scene also serves as an introduction for the main antagonist of this indie comic. He is a humanoid with the head of a bomb, similar to the ones you would normally see in Warner Bros. cartoons. However, we quickly realize that Demo doesn’t have much of a moral compass; he simply wants to blow everything and everyone up for fun.
We find out that Demo doesn’t seem to be too happy with management, mostly because they don’t want to destroy everything like he clearly does. I thought this was going to go a bit further – with the bad guy spending more time to explain his reasoning and purpose – but he barely does.
Demo outwardly called himself a Continental King, which leads me to believe each continent will have one ruler, or maybe the bomb-man was just being vain. Although the story progresses easily without it, that’s something I would have loved the comic to expand a bit more upon.
Instead, being this the first issue, we don’t really find out much about any other villains. All we know is there is a big boss controlling the attacks and North America isn’t the only continent under siege. Maybe something will be revealed in the next few episodes?
If that were too be the case, I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. I usually prefer to start with a limited cast of characters and have the others mentioned, instead of being overwhelmed by many at once. I also don’t know if Joe could of handled any more villains. From the glimpses I got from this volume, it seems that the Continental Kings will have different powers. I expect the fights to have many whimsical moments.
Continental Kings’ Got Some Potential!
Past this almost-cinematic introduction, a battle ensues between the hero and the villain. I must say, Joe’s got skills! He dons a baseball bat as his weapon of choice and rushes head on at Demo. I quite enjoyed their fights, they were intense and fun.
The duo were often flying through the air and I was surprised at how Joe, despite the maneuvers Demo was making, managed to keep his grip. Despite it being an indie comicbook, their battle played out like a high-paced AAA action movie.
The ending of Continental Kings was satisfying and left me wanting more. For a hobby project, the work of Isai Oviedo turns out to be a fun and visually pleasing comic book. If you want to read it for yourself – which believe me; you should – you can find the first issue on Amazon.