KISS: Solo #1 Review

KISS: Solo #1 kicks off a four-part series, each issue focusing on a specific member of the group. The Demon, based on Gene Simmons’ character, is trying to better understand humans, the race he just helped save in the main KISS title. Here’s the official description from IDW:

The Four-Who-Are-One go it alone! Up first, the Demon takes the stage in “Radioactive” – a tale of blood, revenge, fire, and… the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Beloved Kiss artist Angel Medina returns to the fold to tell this explosive tale!

Chris Ryall handles writing duties, and he takes the opportunity to explore a more thoughtful side of the Demon. Such an internal focus is to be expected in an issue centered on a single character, and definitely benefits the one-dimensional Demon. Unfortunately, the use of the Four Horsemen as villains, with War as the main adversary, falls flat. When War first made its appearance, I thought perhaps each Horseman would feature in a different issue, as a foil to a different hero. Such an approach might be both tired and too neat, but would also be elegant. Instead, the Demon takes down all Four by himself, turning the iconic figures into no threat at all. Ryall does explore an interesting difference between War and the other Horsemen, noting that Famine, Pestilence, and Death merely seek to destroy, while War revels in the conflict which precedes destruction, and hopes to prolong it.

Angel Medina’s art is a  mixed bag, although my problems are mostly with the stylistic choices he makes. Energy discharge is one of the more easily drawn elements of many comic books, and yet, when done really well, as Medina does here, it makes a great impression. His backgrounds, when they appear, are beautiful, detailed perspectives. His normal, human figures are natural, and very smoothly drawn, but his depictions of the horsemen have a 90s feel. War, in particular, looks like a Horseman of the X-Men’s Apocalypse, rather than an actual supernatural embodiment of strife. The Demon also has a 90s look, but that character looked kinda 90s before there even was a 90s.


Single issue, character-focused stories such as this often encounter two problems: a formulaic approach and a failure to contribute to the series as a whole. KISS: Solo #1 definitely suffers from the former, and, unless I miss my guess, will be guilty of the latter as well.


Now in his mid-twenties, Zac is getting too old to rock and roll all night. Follow him on Twitter before 9 pm.

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