"Tales of Mr. Rhee: Karmageddon #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Devil's Due Entertainment
Written by Dirk Manning
Illustrated by Seth Damoose
2014, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 29th, 2014
The reluctant hero Mr. Rhee has found himself caring for five children after their parents were murdered in front of them by some sort of demon. He figured the best way to keep them safe was to take them to his old teacher, although that presents an entirely different set of dangers. After a detour takes them to Megalopolis, the group finds their car destroyed and a horde of demons at their back. That's not all. There is also a pack of angels, a super hero, a bunch of other survivors of the apocalypse, oh, and did I mention Cthulhu? Yeah, he's here too. Just an average day for Mr. Rhee.
The title character has been working for himself for ages. He left his own brother to rot in prison. This makes the dynamic between Rhee and the children very interesting. Writer Dirk Manning could have played this up like Three Men and a Baby or something, creating some wacky hijinks for Rhee to get into as he doesn't really know how to take care of kids. He could be winking at the reader as he struggles to figure out how to change a diaper. Instead, Rhee treats them as he would anyone else that would be put in the same situation with them. He talks to them like adults and doesn't pull punches. He also doesn't shield the kids from the piles of corpses that fill the streets of Megalopolis, explaining that whatever caused this has already passed through, as if that will help ease the trauma.
The question of faith comes into play with this issue of Tales of Mr. Rhee: Karmageddon with the appearance of angels and all that they bring with them. A huge group of people are standing in the Megalopolis equivalent to Times Square, out in the open for anything to pick them off. This is in the wake of a world-ending event in which the Elder Gods rose. Despite the fact that they should all be hiding in a bunker somewhere, they're perfectly happy being under the "protection" of the angels. Of course, Rhee sees through this but demands answers too late. Cthulhu is already there.
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The final pages of this issue change the dynamic a bit. Manning brings in elements of Christianity in a way that's not preachy at all, and is actually kind of scary. He provides a look at the Rapture from a different angle and frames it as a terrifying experience for all involved. And that's not just because there's a big squid god marching through the city like Godzilla.
Seth Damoose's artwork is light and cartoony. While the characters look fine, it doesn't match up to the dark tone of Manning's story. In one of the first few pages, a demon pulls Rhee out of the car by his neck. He feels like Rocksteady or Bebop from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, not at all intimidating or scary, when he should be terrifying. He does draw one awesome Cthulhu though.
Damoose nails Rhee's expressions, managing to capture everything that must be going through the man's mind as he struggles to figure out what to do next with these kids. There's a tiny glimmer of compassion behind that gruff exterior that he's trying to bury down beneath the apathy for others.
Manning ups the ante with this issue of Tales of Mr. Rhee: Karmageddon. Nearly everything is thrown into the mix and the story never feels crowded or bloated. This is the end of the world book to top all end of the world books.