Killeroo – A Genetic Experiment gone horribly Right
Now on the workering side of Australia Day, it seemed appropriate that with a new decade I revisit a one-shot that kicked off a mini series. Killeroo – Scars resonates on a plain where Australian lore, mythos and cultural identity has equal footing. 6 years old and still just as relevant today.
Darren Close’s Killeroo tells the story of a science experiment of Wolverine and Weapon X like proportions. Or Frankenstein, depending on the shelf life of your pop culture referencing.
When the science experiment in question goes horribly wrong (or right) resulting in super-powering Rufus (The Kangaroo) and imbuing him with a certain sense of morality. This results in a story of land rights meets science fiction meets gang war.
The Killeroo tropes serve a Purpose
There’s the origin story trope of scientist working on pet project who eventually grows enamoured with the creature on the operating table. Only to his detriment when the scientist objects to the planned extermination of Rufus by the commanding officer. Resulting in the murder of the scientist and Rufus’ forced escape.
Eventually finding his way to an Aboriginal community Rufus begins to find himself. Where he belongs and where he can start to build a life for himself. The connectivity that this now anthropomorphic kangaroo never had is given chance to mature. The displacement starts to fade as he learns from an elder what it is to rediscover ones self.
Peace is rarely a commodity that sells a good comic book. As contentment sets in so does the raiding of a biker gang which sets off Rufus’ programming. What starts of as a simple scare tactic to drive the aboriginals from their land – instead results in a gore splatter fest that sees the true nature of Killeroo fight back. Taking out the leader of the gang, leaving him paralysed and scarred.
The underlying subtext of the Killeroo – Scars one shot provides an interesting layer and cultural narrative. With displacement, land connectivity and scars “left behind” as the heavy hitters. This is savagely reinforced by the tone and grit that has gone into the artwork.
Artwork that does well to paint a clear picture of life in outback Australia. From the time Rufus spends in the aboriginal community to the where he breaks free of his captors in the panel showing the barrenness and unforgiving isolation of Australia’s landscape.
Cleverly, set in the harsh sun burnt land of South Australia. A master stroke. Were this set anywhere else it just wouldn’t work. Tonally, Killeroo – Scars is as savage in its gore as it is beautiful in its cultural understanding.
Pick up the latest Killeroo story inside the page of the “Australia Burns” anthology. With proceeds going to the 2019/2020 Australian bushfire victims.