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King City Volume 1 by Brandon Scott Graham
Review by Paul Haggerty
TOKYOPOP Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781598169829
Date: 01 April 2007 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Joe is a guy the unsavory elements of society come to when they need something acquired. And in King City, there are more unsavory elements than there are street signs. Spies, aliens, gangs, mad science, all are at home in this strange metropolis. And Joe has one of strangest things of all, Earthling J.J. Catingsworth the Third, or Cat for short. Cat is ... well, a cat, furry, lazy, finicky, and totally convinced of his superiority. He may also be the smartest character in the book. But when injected with a special serum, Cat can become anything: a periscope, a gun, duplicating machine, or even a furry whirlwind of clawed destruction ... although that's not that different from a normal cat.

It's a fairly simple job: just break into a high security vault and duplicate a key that's hidden there. It's a piece of cake for someone with Joe's skills, not to mention the unique talents of Cat. The job goes smooth, no one's the wiser, and then things go steadily downhill from there.

King City is home to ninjas, secret societies, sasquatches, aliens, and even stranger things. And while Joe may be good at what he does, he's only a very small cog in the vast machinery that makes King City run. Somebody wants Joe to succeed, many want him to fail. And Joe better figure out who's who before he gets squashed.

King City is also home to friends and acquaintances. Pete is in the trade like Joe, a fixer and make-it-happen kind of guy. Even while he's doing what he can to help Joe, he's got his own work to do, and it's always hardest when "just business" runs up against what ethical rules these guys cling to in order to be able to live with themselves another day. Anna and Max are a couple just trying to fly under the radar. Anna has a side hobby of painting mustaches on billboards. She also happens to be the one-that-got-away from Joe. Losing her still haunts his memories.

Add in a drop dead sexy, but totally mysterious stranger, who drops in from time to time to give Joe a hint and a shove in the right direction, and the story weaves through a plot line that seems, at first, to be rather random and just plain crazy. But soon all the disparate pieces, not to mention the characters, are all drawn together.

And while the action ends with a bang, the story is far from over. I'm looking forward to Volume 2, coming out in late 2008, to find out more about the strange lives of the strange inhabitants of King City.

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