Kali graphic novel review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-50672-925-1
  • Release date: 2022
  • UPC: 9781506729251
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Action Thriller

Kali is an exceptional fighter. No matter the odds, you should bet on her to come out on top. One person? Don’t insult her! Two? Bring on a real challenge! Six armed soldiers? Dogmeat! That’s how tough Kali is. Her former gang still left her for dead with a knife in her back, and she survived that as well.

Daniel Freedman and Robert Sammelin start Kali the way they intend to continue, as all-action all the way. In case the cover design didn’t signal their movie influences, they’re obvious inside. Mad Max’s undefined world of unconformists provides the background, but Kali also absorbs every thrilling piece of schlock cinema where one person emerges victorious against violence, oppression and impossible odds, except this time Clint Eastwood is a woman.

At its heart Kali transmits the message that there’s no selling out to the man and remaining independent, so it’s a shame Kali’s former gang made that choice. Still it enables Sammelin to turn in a nice line of uniform fetish. Sammelin’s art is phenomenal, supplying the action thrills and cleverly anticipating a fair number of readers experiencing Kali digitally. Four consecutive spreads mimic movement as Kali is faced with a troop of soldiers. Think she’ll see them off?

Despite a few traps there’s not much in the way of surprises, but in some stories they’re not necessary. Righteous vengeance and escalating violence is all that is, and Kali delivers that in spades. Does it end in tears? Damn right.