This week on Weekly Penguin arena I'm proud to introduce you to one of the best comic books released in over a decade; Penguins vs Possums, created by Sebastian Kadlecik and brought to life by Kadlecik, John Bring and Lindsay Calhoon Bring via the aid of Kickstarter.
The story is precisely what the title says; Penguins and possums are locked in an inter-species war that has raged for generations. The war is fought hidden from the human eyes, but the moment we hairless monkeys look away, the penguins don their samurai-esque battle gear and tactics while the possums deliver a more tribal form of beatdown. The leads in this dual narrative are Xiao – the son of the penguin emperor – and Amaru, a possum warrior who carries the burden of being chosen as the vessel for an age old prophecy.
From the first glimpse of the comic it's obvious that Penguins vs Possums is a spiritual cousin of iconic cult classics like the early Tank Girl or original TMNT; Punk-tastically anarchic and positively chaotic, yet with smart writing and clever twists. But PvP is far more than just thrills, as it's an epic tale with a solid narrative and great characterisation. Both animal societies are well thought out and distinctive, from the clear feudal Japanese influences of the penguins to the more tribal world of the possums.
The tag line of the series is, aptly enough, 'choose a side'. While it was pretty much pre-destined which side we here at Penguin DT rally behind, it's not to say that the possums aren't likeable, on the contrary. Both sides are well portrayed, to the point that the reader can easily root for either side – or both. In this sense it's a bit like Game of Thrones, only it's about inter-species warfare instead of opposing fantasy kingdoms.
Do I recommend it? Heck yes – and not just for being a fan of weapon-wielding penguins waging a war. If you are looking for something genuinely punk yet with surprising depth, this is just the thing for you. It has everything; Fantastic and unique world, great characters, brilliant black-and-white artwork... and of course, those penguins with guns!
Funded on Kickstarter, the first paperback compilation – featuring the first four issues – is out now. And just yesterday it was announced that the series continues next month with issue #5. I, for one, can't wait to see where the story goes next!