"Tales of Mr. Rhee: Karmageddon #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Devil's Due Entertainment
Written by Dirk Manning
Illustrated by Seth Damoose
2014, 28 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 14th, 2014
Man, Mr. Rhee has some pretty crappy luck. After narrowly escaping an attack by a horde of demons, a pack of angels and Cthulhu himself, I sort of hoped he would find a moment to rest, but that's just not in the cards. He's been trying to protect a group of kids after he was unable to save their parents from death by monster. Granted, his solution is far from a perfect one, though one might argue that it's just as frightening. Morale is at an all-time low after one of the children was sucked up into the Heavens thanks to the Rapture. That may be good for her, but it really sucks for her siblings. What does that mean for them? Were they not worthy?
This time around the group heads to a church led by a mysterious priest. Right off the bat, you can tell that something's off about this place. You want to believe that it's one beacon of light amidst near total darkness. We are talking about the post-apocalyptic world here. There's got to be a catch. I was looking for a twist throughout the issue and I ignored what was probably the most obvious option. That's when writer Dirk Manning hit me with one of the most terrifying and cringe-worthy panels I've read in some time. It's like a train wreck. You don't want to watch, but you can't turn away. I couldn't believe this was actually happening. I have to give it to Manning for pulling no punches with this comic. Damn.
While Manning is bringing the pain with words with the panel in question, artist Seth Damoose is delivering the emotional horror. And no, I'm not going to describe in detail because you need to see it to believe it. You're confronted with this image right when you turn the page and it's like something out of a nightmare. Even Mr. Rhee is caught off guard. He doesn't know what to do. The follow-up panel almost tops it because your mind is filling in the gruesome details of what's happening in the gutters between the two shots.
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This issue also illustrates just how alone Mr. Rhee is in the world. He encounters a couple and has little to nothing to speak to them about. His first instinct is to jump into a defensive stance and prepare for a fight, but they're just regular people looking for whatever passes for safety in this insane world. When they find out what Mr. Rhee is, they clam up. They don't need to know his history. They just place a label on him. Society still sees him as an outcast, despite the fact that he's trying to do what's right.
The children have really started to come into their own as the story has progressed. At first they were five faceless kids, pretty much interchangeable with one another. Manning has given them personalities and fleshed out their characters. They're not Non-Player Characters in Mr. Rhee's game. They carry an importance now.
This chapter is light on the monsters, instead giving you a brief moment to catch your breath after the events of the previous issue. That changes abruptly as you get towards the end of the book and everyone takes a one-way express train to Crazy Town. Mr. Rhee set out on what should have been a simple quest to get these kids to safety and instead has been challenged and put through the ringer. He's encountering things that he's just not familiar with. If these were supernatural creatures, he could whip up some magic and take care of them, but these are little kids, lost and alone in a world they don't fully understand.