"Tales of Mr. Rhee: Karmageddon #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Devil's Due Entertainment
Written by Dirk Manning
Illustrated by Seth Damoose
2015, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 4th, 2015
It's safe to say that Mr. Rhee is far from the world's best babysitter. After picking up five newly orphaned children who just watched their parents brutally murdered by a few demons, Mr. Rhee decided to take them some place he knew would be safer. He's lost three of them along the way and he's determined to keep the remaining kids alive, which is easier said than done.
Mr. Rhee has been wrestling with this journey since it started. He's bringing the children to his master's house. This is the wizard that taught him all his magic and ways to combat the darkness. Unfortunately, this came at a cost, which has been hinted at since Karmageddon began. It was pretty easy to figure out, but seeing it more clearly in this issue can be a little rough, especially knowing that Mr. Rhee intends to put a few kids in that danger. He's stuck between a rock and a hard place with this decision. On the one hand, the children face certain death out in the world. On the other, they'd be safe from all those foul creatures, but a truly vile human being who's done some absolutely heinous things would be living in the same house with them. Do the ends justify the means?
When this secret finally comes out, the oldest kid, Abby, has a completely justifiable reaction. She put her trust in Mr. Rhee, even if he never really wanted it to begin with. He took on the responsibility of keeping them safe. His track record has been pretty awful, but she would have never expected this. Interestingly enough, she comes up with a very plausible situation.
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Of course, being that this is a horror comic and writer Dirk Manning has shown us that he pulls no punches even when dealing with orphans, things don't go all that smoothly. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, he pulls the rug out from under you, supplying some absolutely incredible final few pages. There's a near perfect moment that's very reminiscent of Watchmen that's quickly followed by a closing line that leaves the true ending up to the reader's imagination. I read that and just went, "...damn." It works so well, particularly with this character.
This issue provides a flashback to let us know what happened in the aftermath of the last one and boy, do things get bloody. Artist Seth Damoose brings a level of quiet brutality to these scenes as Mr. Rhee swings away with all his might. It's a great opener for the comic and really cements the despair that surrounds this man and any who come into contact with him. He can't catch a break, which is probably why he prefers to work alone. There's a full-page spread of Mr. Rhee, covered in blood and standing over a lifeless body that is very impressive.
Damoose bounces from a gut-wrenching scene like that to something more lighthearted with the kids fighting in the back of the car. It's a ridiculous shot with the back seat literally filled with junk food, but it gives you a moment to catch your breath before the creators hit you again.
Tales of Mr. Rhee: Karmageddon is a true post-apocalyptic comic. Unlike other such tales where the survivors look to rebuild society and get on with their lives, there is no hope here. This world is a cold, dark place filled with terrors of all shapes and sizes. Mr. Rhee set out to do something good and possibly make a difference, however small it would be, in the lives of a few kids. He watched it all crumble, turning to ash right in his hands. Just look at the cover for this issue and that gives you an idea of the kind of hopelessness that he's surrounded by. Ouch.