Kingsway West is an interesting, if a bit underwhelming introduction to the Kingsway universe. What is present in this first installment is interesting and fun, but I really couldn’t help but wish for some clearer art, more direct writing, and a less obvious attempt at a cliffhanger.
Kingsway treads somewhat obvious plotlines. This doesn’t need to be a bad thing, and in the case here, it really isn’t. Warring factions are at odds and there is an apparently transcendent love interest. Everything the reader learns in the book is thrown out by one of the last lines. This seems to me to be common practice in comics, but I am content to see it occur here as well. The world itself is intriguing enough that I don’t mind the familiar plot and writing structures.
That all being said, I am happy about where the story begins. Taking place over a number of points in the main character’s life, his back story is told organically on the pages in front of the reader. To top this organic storytelling off, there is plenty of potential for the plot in Kingsway to evolve over time. Though it seems somewhat contrived now (and honestly, in the begining of a new series, how could it not?), I am optimistic that it will pick up in the next issues.
Consistent writing makes for a believable world:
Throughout the pages of the first Kingsway, the world takes on a very apparent tone. The tone gets stronger as the reader experiences more characters and more situations. As time goes on, the reader will begin to realize that the language and tone of the writing matches the art work and communications of the characters.
The language and communication is consistent throughout the first issue. This allows the reader to become comfortable in the language. The fact that the characters continue to speak and act in the same manner, makes the book feel more authentic. The plot may not be realistic, but as long as the writing is consistent and fair, the readers can become engrossed in the world and suspend the disbelief of the plot in order to make sense of the new world they find themselves in.
Art is Kingsway‘s biggest fault:
Now, I don’t mean that the artwork in Kingsway is bad. The art is fantastic, but actions are not always clear. There were three or four occasions in the first few pages alone where I needed to carefully examine the artwork to try to make sense of what was going on. I wasn’t always able to figure it out.
This should not take away from when the art works, however. When it works, it really works. The artwork is brutal and fantastical to match the tone of the plot, and it really shows through. The characters are distinctive (for the most part. There were two characters that I was unable to tell the difference of), and the artwork really brings them to life.
In the future, I hope the artwork portrays action more clearly. I don’t want better artwork, just clearer artwork.