Happy Kitty has been a somewhat enigmatic character in Christos Gage’s Absolution series. Most of the other characters have had their backstories filled in within the plot lines of the series. This month we’re treated to a one-off book to help fill in the gaps for this previously one-dimensional character. It comes as no surprise that Ms. Kitty’s path to her current occupation wasn’t rosy. What makes this tale an interesting read is the grittiness that Gage brings to this somewhat predictable origin. Tanaka’s mentorship in the art of being a sociopath is simultaneously disturbing and laugh-out-loud funny. It’s unimaginably sad to see a child exposed to such callus neglect that no one ever even bother to give her a proper name and hilarious to watch her extract herself from seeming lethal situations time and time again. Duffield delivers crisply drawn characters and the wonderfully grisly artwork that seems to be the common thread in all the Avatar books. His two-page, old school Nintendo Duck Hunt rendering was a nice touch that brought a nostalgic smirk to face as I recalled my, albeit less homicidal, childhood infatuation with console games.
Paul Duffield does such a great job on this cover and all the foreground subjects, but I’d love to see him spread some of that ink and color to his backgrounds. It seems like all the action in this book happens in some of the least interesting locations in the universe. This is especially notable in one of the several Kitty versus dozens of yakuza scenes. Does everything have to happen against a rice paper wall or a room that looks no bigger than a $49/night motel room?
This book won’t push you to have deep thoughts or grow as a person. It has little to no moral or socially redeeming qualities at all. Gage and Duffield know this and revel in it. Pick this one up and enjoy the grime.
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