Created by: Sebastian Kadlecik
Written by: Sebastian Kadlecik, John Bring, and Lindsay Calhoon Bring
Illustrated by: Sebastian Kadlecik and John Bring
Edited by: Sebastian Kadlecik, John Bring, and Lindsay Calhoon Bring
Genre: Action/adventure, comedy
Since the dawn of time, a secret war has been waged between two species, each determined to annihilate the other. Throughout the millennia, they have kept their battle confined to the shadows; however, one brazen act has escalated this conflict to a fever pitch. As the world careens toward Armageddon, every human on the planet will soon be forced to CHOOSE A SIDE!
Penguins & Possums engaged in a heated war may sound at first a little peculiar. Believe me, when I first read the title I had to read it again to make sure I wasn't imagining it. After reading volume one, issues one through eight, the question is "Why would it be anything other than Penguins vs Possums?".
The series is the brainchild of Sebastian Kadlecik. He is flanked on either side by John Bring and Lindsay Calhoon Bring. Together they write, edit & illustrate this epic saga. I say saga because straight from the off in the first scene of issue one, it is apparent that this war has been waging for a very long time. We join the two foes at a pivotal point in their history, it's no slow lead in for the audience. Instead we are welcomed in with a violent invasion, the Penguins being attacked by the Possums in the San Diego Zoo. Nothing will ever be the same for either side. Speaking of sides, as the synopsis says 'CHOOSE A SIDE'. This is part of what makes 'Penguins vs Possums' so much fun. You join a team & you read in anticipation, hoping you chose wisely. It's not that easy to choose by the way, I found myself pondering over the decision for longer than was probably necessary. The reason it's tricky is because neither side is the epitome of 'good'. No one side is all smiles with birds helping them with household chores. It's not a case of night & day here, one moment you think the Possums are in the right and then the next you're painting a 'GO GO PENGUINS!' banner.
The two central characters are Amaru and Xiao. They are our entry point, through them we witness life in the trenches. We have Amaru for the Possums. A reluctant leader who is looking for revenge and redemption. An ancient prophecy has seen many of his race deem him the 'Chosen One'. In the opposite corner, there is Xiao. He is at first considered a coward not fit to rule after the death of his father. However through a series of events he proves himself to be a worthy and dangerous successor. As I was reading and looking over the art work I found myself picturing the illustrations as Hollywood actors. Amaru I saw as Willem Dafoe and as Xiao I could only see Robert De Niro. Both characters are surrounded by a fantastic supporting cast, Amaru has his loose cannon of a step brother Zolin and his comical faithful friend Doc by his side. Xaio puts his trust in a female, a former rebel fighter called Meilai. Humans aren't completely ignored in this story either. We are represented by archaeologists CJ & Felicia. They are on a journey of discovery, uncovering the severity of the secret war and finding themselves more and more involved in it.
Each issue is very addictive, as one ended I found myself opening the next. I had originally intended to read one a day for eight days but once I started, I had to keep reading. It took me one night and the following morning. It would have been in one night had I not started reading so late. Only a clock that read 3:00am stopped me from carrying on. Why is it so addictive? It has a real pace and rhythm to it. Never once did I find myself bored, every illustration/frame is for a purpose. What is great is that you're never left wondering about the opposition for too long. The writers could have very easily focused on one side more than the other but thankfully, it's equal billing. Plus when you enter the realms of the Penguins or the Possums you are kept intrigued not only by their plans to outwit their enemies but by the infighting, betrayal and paranoia in their own bases. The illustrations are wonderful, the colour has been stripped away leaving only black and white images. The use of black and white adds a gritty atmosphere to the story, it gives it a classic, film noir look. Be warned there is violence, as there is bound to be within a story about war. I liken some of the action scenes in Penguins vs Possums to the colosseum scenes in 'Gladiator', if they had been directed by 'Quentin Tarantino'. Large numbers of combatants & lots of 'bumping off' variations with different weapons. As a film fanatic I was encouraged to read on because every few scenes there would be a famous movie quote sprinkled into the dialogue. I felt immense satisfaction when I was able to spot one and correctly identify it's origins.
This series has been two years in the making, starting in 2014 & ending in December of this year, 2016. I was lucky because when I came to reading I didn't have to wait for each issue. I can't imagine the feeling you must have sitting down to read issue eight if you started all that time ago. What a thrill! I had a blast from start to finish and I say finish, but part of me is hoping this is not the end. I would love to see a volume two. It wouldn't even have to be a sequel, with us jumping into the story in the middle of the war we could very easily be treated to a prequel. How did this all start? Were the Penguins & Possums friends once upon a time? Though our questions from volume one have been answered in the recently released final chapter, we still have more to uncover.
You can purchase Volume One, issues one to eight using the link below.
Good luck to your side!
By the way, incase you're wondering........
I'm a Possum.