by Justin Fah When opening a book titled Penguins Vs. Possums, you never know what may happen. Alliteration aside, these creatures appear to have nothing drawing them together. That doesn't stop the creative team of Sebastian Kadlecik, Lindsay Calhoon and John Bring from creating a centuries-old rivalry.
While most books spend issue one tripping over their own exposition, Penguins Vs. Possums wastes no time. As a comic reader you are always prepared to encounter strange and unrealistic things, and this book has an abundance of strange and unrealistic. By page five everything you expected is thrown out the window. These animals talk, stab and even shoot.
The book's immediate jump into action is refreshing. There are breadcrumbs of history sprinkled throughout but it never stops to spoon feed the reader. The main characters each have a defined voice and a clear reason for being involved. The lack of any concrete history of the feud gives both the story and the characters lots of room to grow. The most impressive aspect of this story is that it balances so well. After issue one I am uncertain what side I should be rooting for in this war.
The first installment of Penguins Vs. Possums is more about how they fight than why they fight. As you progress into issues 2 and 3 the story focuses on the internal struggles of each camp. In just three issues the creators have set up story arcs that could seemingly go on for ages.
The art has a very raw feeling to it. This creates an interesting contrast between the animals and their advanced weaponry and technology. The black and white interiors work well with the subject matter and at times it feels as though the only color missing is red for the bloodshed. The art doesn't let itself get worn down by the details of how a penguin would wield an Uzi. Instead it embraces the absurdity of it and has fun with the action sequences. John Bring and Sebastian Kadlecik have the unenviable task of trying to make a penguin physically imposing. This challenge is met with mixed results. On the other side of that the possums consistently appear fierce. All-in-all, both animals come off reasonably personified.
TL;DR: Penguins Vs. Possums is a lot deeper than the silly title implies. Don't over think the mechanics of it and enjoy the ride.
Penguins Vs. Possums is written and created and drawn by Sebastian Kadlecik with additional writing and editing by Lindsay Calhoon. Additional art by John Bring. Self-published by JBSK Comics, you can purchase copies of the issues on the series' website.
Review PDFs of Penguins Vs. Possums were graciously provided to Spandexless by the creator.
After absorbing an unhealthy amount of comics, Justin Fah has opinions about them. Since he is inconveniently located in Eastern Iowa, Justin has decided to put these opinions on the Internet for everyone to ignore. To hear him ramble endlessly, check out his podcasts at www.uptoyouproductions.com.