Review – Kid Lobotomy (IDW Publishing/Black Crown)

Publisher: IDW Publishing (Black Crown imprint)
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Tess Fowler, Lee Loughridge and Aditya Bidikar
Release Date: 18th October 2017

Kid Lobotomy is punk. There’s certainly no denying that.  It’s a huge mixture of influences and themes thrown together in a random colourful psychedelic mythical cocktail.  In fact, reading it can make you feel slightly drunk and like you’ve been churned up in a mosh pit, just like the punk gigs which inspired Milligan in this and much of his other writing.

The story follows the heir to The Suites Hotel fortune. Following a musical difference with his punk band, the kid goes off the deep end, quite literally. After a failed suicide attempt, his father has him committed, trying everything from sorcery to lobotomy to cure his son, with nothing seeming to work completely. Instead, the kid is put in charge of the hotel and its interesting clientele and staff, a collection of ghosts, shape-shifters and the insane, all coming for the his unique brain surgery skills. If only his incestuous sister wasn’t trying to kill him, he might actually enjoy the job.

I didn’t know quite how I felt about Kid Lobotomy on my first read.  It was very full-on, and jumped around a lot trying to set the scene. I felt like the depth of the story somewhat works against it, at least for the time being.  I’m sure this will change over time but for an opening issue it just feels like too much is left unexplained, as if the back story was unimportant to the point where the creators simply wanted to get it out the way.

But on reading it a second time, I started to get the feeling that the ambiguity of it is part of the tale. You’re being told the story from a crazy person’s perspective, so it’s not really meant to be coherent.  Throw in Fowler’s fantastically detailed panels and you have to keep going back to check if you missed something. Her characters seem to show more detail every time you look at them and in some of the pages I found myself paying more attention to the background than I did the main story. And, somewhat fittingly given the setting I couldn’t help but get the same vibes that the conspiracy theorists get from the Shinning, trying to figure out just what’s real and what innocuous detail might actually be important.

It’s a curious start, and while it’s clearly not going to appeal to everyone, I think this one is a slow burner that will gradually pick up momentum in the next few issues.

Rating: 3/5

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The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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