ADVANCE REVIEW! Kevin Keller #2/Veronica #208 will come out on August 10, 2011.
While helping Kevin and his family prepare a surprise birthday party for Colonel Keller, Veronica learns more about Kevin’s life before he came to Riverdale. In less than six issues, Kevin Keller has had more character development than most of the Archie-verse supporting cast has had in 70 years. In this issue, readers learn where he was born, where his sisters were born, how his parents met, what his favorite toy as a child was, and that he’s a superhero fan. Meanwhile I’m still waiting to find out if Ethel Muggs has a living father and what Brigitte Reilly does when she’s not singing.
Kevin is obviously a character close to writer-artist Dan Parent’s heart and he’s doing a superb job of making him more than just a publicity stunt. I would, however, like to see Kevin interact with other characters than just Veronica. Don’t get me wrong. The two have a great relationship. Kevin gets Veronica, maybe even more so than Archie and Betty. Notice his panicked expression when Veronica senses something going on:
And his response to her butting in:
And this scene:
They play off each other well; but it would be nice to see Kevin having the same give and take with other characters in the main cast too.
“The Write Stuff” touches on the issue of bullying as it relates to Kevin’s life and that of his friends. While it’s not a treatise on the subject, it is handled in such a way that both younger and older readers will take something away from it. Heroism is another theme of the book and Parent chooses to emphasize aspects of it readers might not expect. All of this is done without preaching and in the context of a story that combines humor and heart.
The art by Parent, Rich Koslowski, and Jack Morelli is accessible and attractive. While Parent sticks to the grid format, the pages still sport individualized looks. He uses a variety of line widths and shapes to vary the appearance the page. One of the sharpest effects he uses is carrying a border of streamers and balloons across the top of four pages. It’s integrated into the scenes while creating a sense of flow. The colors are bright and sharp.
Kevin Keller #2 is an entertaining story that shows the power of family and friendship without being sappy.
For the past thirteen years, Penny Kenny has been an elementary library paraprofessional in a rural school district. For the seven years prior to that, she headed a reading-math program designed to help first grade students with learning difficulties. Her book reviews regularly appeared in Starlog from 1993 to the magazine’s unfortunate demise in 2009 and she has published several e-novellas under a pen name. She has been a reviewer with Comics Bulletin since 2007.