Writer: Ollie Masters
Artists: Eoin Marron & Jordie Bellaire
With Killer Groove’s conclusion, I now have full faith in Aftershock Comics’ decision to limit their series to five issues. It seems like every new comic these days expects to get at least fifty issues. Usually, they might not even break double digits before a reboot, reshuffle, or just poor sales interrupt it. When I pick up an Aftershock book, I know that I’m guaranteed a complete if brief story. Killer Groove #5 might not be everything I want it to be, but it’s certainly an appropriate ending for one of the best series to come out this year.
Johnny and Jackie’s lives have come crashing down but they still can’t throw off their old ways. Johnny has finally hit it big but he has to keep killing to sustain his songwriting mojo. Raúl is at death’s door and Jackie might be in an even worse place than that. Killer Groove manages to bring this and every other plotline to a close, in a dramatic shift that still feels natural. Even if the climax isn’t abrupt, it’s almost to conclusive. There are no real loose ends to speak of, even if certain plotlines could have been better developed. The unexpectedly absolute end does fit with Killer Groove’s tone and its themes of unexpected disaster and broken dreams. Even if it was inevitable in many ways.
On the other hand, the art of Killer Groove #5 is likely the best in the whole series. Eoin Marron pulls out all the stops. The visuals and brief moments of action are fairly tame but clever framing gives the story real staying power. Marron uses it to set up a lot of clever tricks, without resorting to gimmicks or making the events too cryptic. The art picks up any slack left by the narrative, as Marron emphasizes the sort of visual storytelling only comics can pull off.
While it can feel like certain characters could have benefited from a stronger ending, their faces say everything you need to know. Marron has combined a distinct art style with uniquely believable expressions and body language. That approach is far more effective than shallow attempts at photorealism or absurdly over-detailed designs. Jordie Bellaire’s remarkably consistent colorwork is also a major contributing factor to why Killer Groove is one of the best-looking comics to come out this year.
In my review for Stronghold‘s final issue, I remarked that it could have benefited from just one more installment. While I have similar problems with how Killer Groove wraps things up I also don’t know where else this book could have gone. It brought everything to a close and in a largely satisfactory way. It felt a bit messy but Killer Groove was never about “clean” characters.
Killer Groove #5
Even the best books need to come to an end and Killer Groove stays true to itself all the way through.