Dynamite has sent us a new writer’s commentary with Ian Edginton talking about Killer Instinct #4 that was drawn by Ediano Silva. Edginton goes pretty deep into the process in this commentary, but let’s start off by looking at the covers by Yildiray Cinar and Jonathan Lau.
So we finally have the team of Tusk, Jago and Kim Wu together as they arrive on a seemingly deserted Greek island in search of the golem Aganos. They’re not strangers since we previously established that they’d fought alongside each other in the first war with Gargos some years earlier. Jago and Kim Wu quickly re-establish an easy going banter between themselves but Tusk is a bit more hard work. He’s an ageless immortal warrior so the modern world is sometimes hard for him to process. He’s got a pretty analogue personality. Things are either good or evil, he finds it tricky dealing with the grey areas. I love the way he uses the Guardian Spirit in his sword Warg-gam (Wolf-wrath) as a divining rod to lead them to Aganos.
I like the scene, it’s a small character moment between Jago and Kim Wu. In issue #1, we saw Kim Wu lose her Dragon Spirit and although on the surface she’s still her old smart, snappy self, Jago picks up on how the loss of her Dragon Spirit is making her feel exposed and vulnerable. He gives her a pep talk and tells her that the spirit chose her as its barer because she had heart, strength and courage. Just because the spirit has gone doesn’t mean those things have changed.
The team unexpectedly crosses paths with Kan-Ra and their consensus, quite naturally, is that he’s up to no good. Whenever I was writing Kan-Ra, I kept on imagining him as the actor Willem Dafoe. I could just hear his voice reading the lines.
Kan-Ra uses his bandage tendrils (I don’t know what else to call them!) to reveal the hibernating Aganos. He’s become part of the landscape. The thing I also like here is that Kan-Ra never denies that he’s a villain but that doesn’t mean he wants the world to end either. As he says, “It’s where I live, the same as you!” I wanted to make him a character you could start to empathize with so that you’re unsure of his motives later on. Is he really trying to help or just following his own agenda?
We flashback to ancient Mycenae as Kan-Ra regales us with Aganos’ origin and that of the Eye of Ancients that becomes embedded in the golem’s forehead. It’s the Eye that connects this world to that of the Astral Plane which is where Jago and the others need to get to in order to find out where the Guardian Spirits are being abducted to. We also get to see that Aganos was in fact just one of an army of such warriors but over the millennia he’s now the last one standing. This provided the opportunity to show some great battle scenes between the golems and their enemies and then later between the golems themselves.
I wanted to have some fun here. Kan-Ra manages to wake Aganos and tries to reason with him. The golem responds by doing what the others would like to have done as he beats the crap out of Kan-Ra. Centuries before, Kan-ra had tried to murder Aganos’ master, the King of Babylon, and it seems the golem still bares a grudge.
There’s a shift in tone now as we jump to the Ural Mountains and the home of The Coven. The Vampire Tsar has the location of the Greek island and is planning to destroy it and everyone on it with a targeted missile strike. I wanted to show the duality of Tsar: on one hand, like Tusk, he’s an ancient warrior, violent and unremitting, yet he’s also a cool-headed strategist and tactician.
I wanted the fight scene to be epic! As well as reflecting the actual game play, using some of the moves, etc., I also wanted to try and get the feel of the fights between Marvel Comics’ the Thing vs. the Hulk, especially the 1960s versions where they would be tectonic, knock-down slug-fests!
Kan-Ra, has actually been holding back and pulling his punches. He wants to reason with Aganos as he genuinely needs the golem’s help. This underscores the notion that perhaps Kan-Ra is genuinely trying to do good?
While the fight’s been going on, Jago and the others have been standing on the sidelines but when it looks as if Aganos might do Kan-Ra some serious damage, it’s Kim Wu who physically puts herself in harm’s way. She doesn’t have any powers but as Jago said earlier, she does have courage and heart regardless of whether she possesses a Guardian Spirit or not. This proves his point. I also wanted this scene to show that she comes out and stands up for Kan-Ra because she believes that he might be trying to do the right thing for once.
As Aganos leads them to the Lost Forge, an ancient temple from where they’ll be able to access the Astral Plane, Kan-Ra thanks Kim-Wu for saving him. However, from the expression on his face and his comment about “always repaying his debts,” it throws some doubt onto whether he really can be trusted.
The Lost Forge is a shout-out to the old Ray Harryhausen movies I used watch when I was growing up. It wasn’t just the monsters of his films that I loved but the sets. There would be temples and citadels lost deep in the jungle, overrun with greenery or pyramids in hidden lands at the top of the world. I wanted to bring some of that into this scene.
What we have is an early looking Grecian temple but the stalactites and stalagmites have slowly grown over the ornate statues and friezes. They’re being gradually consumed by them. The floor is covered by a vast mosaic of our galaxy, the Milky Way, which would suggest a knowledge of the stars that was previously unimagined for the time.
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