Originally published on Set The Tape
Kid Lobotomy is a new ongoing series from IDW’s new mature reader imprint, Black Crown. Written by comics veteran Peter Milligan (Shade The Changing Man, Red Lanterns, and Justice League Dark) and illustrated by Tess Fowler (Rat Queens), Kid Lobotomy is a horror series that focuses on a dysfunctional family that run a hotel filled with ghosts and other strange creatures.
Described by the series creators as ‘Kafka meets King Lear by way of Young Frankenstein’, Kid Lobotomy mixes horror, madness, and the mind.
The main character of the book, the titular Kid Lobotomy, is a failed rock star, medical school dropout, and the reluctant manager of his family hotel. The book also stars his volatile older sister, Rosebud, and his businessman father, Big Daddy. Outside of Kid Lobotomy’s family is the hotel maid Ottla, who appears to be more than she seems.
The first issue of Kid Lobotomy has a broken narrative thread, jumping backwards and forwards as it tells it’s story. In this first issue we learn a lot of Kid Lobotomy’s past, his failed rock career, his time in a psychiatric hospital, and his eventual experimental lobotomy. With all of this we begin to see some of the strange plans that his sister Rosebud is putting into play, as well as Kid’s attempts to ‘cure’ a hotel guest of his neural disorder.
Kid Lobotomy uses this broken narrative structure to help build a sense of unease and mystery. Along with the events in the story it’s hard to know exactly what is and isn’t real, if things are a part of Kid’s broken psyche, or if the supernatural and paranormal exist. Even in recent interviews Peter Milligan has said that not everything in the book can be trusted, but nor should the bizarre be ignored out of hand.
The book establishes questions, yet gives no real answers. Who is Kid and his family? Do monsters and the supernatural exist? How much is actually happening and what’s just in Kid’s head? Having read Milligan’s work in the past, these are sure to be questions that will take a lot of issues to be answered, and even then the answers will probably feel flimsy, and subject to change.
The art in the book is superb, with great character design and small touches within the panels that help to build the world around Kid and the hotel. With the way the book is structured I wouldn’t be surprised if in future issues we begin to learn more about these unusual characters and pieces in the background of panels in the first issue.
Kid Lobotomy is not just the first issue of its own series, but the first book in the Black Crown imprint, a shared universe where all of its stories not only happen in the same world, but on the same street, so it takes a lot of time to set the tone for this new comics world. An intriguing and bizarre introduction that messes with the mind and reader’s expectations. An excellent beginning to a brand new world.
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