Ken Games v4 by José Manuel Robledo and Marcial Toledano

Ken Games, v4: “Louviers”

Spoiler Alert: I won’t spoil this book, but the rest of the “Ken Games” series is fair game.  Carry on at your own risk.

Four years after creating “Ken Games” v1 – v3, the original creative team returned for a fourth volume focusing on Bruno Louviers, a.k.a. The King Killer.  He’s also Scissor’s old flame from their school days, and the assassin who blew up their shared apartment to kill her, and a man who likes to take photographs.  Past that, we didn’t know much about him.

Until now.

The greatest thing about this bonus book is that it answers a couple of other leftover questions from the initial series, too, such as the role of Scissor’s mother, who suddenly popped up at the end of volume 3.

The Art of Toledon

Ken Games v4 and Marcial Toledano's art shift

“Wait, what –?!? Who drew this?!? Toledano? REALLY?!?”

The biggest shift in this book is Marcial Toledano’s art.  It’s an immediately noticeable and dramatic shift away from his more “cartoony” style from the original mini.  Gone is the Moebius/Quitely-looking faces and pushed shapes.  This volume tries super hard to be more realistic, including the shadow work in the colors.

Have to be honest: I prefer the old art style more, but Toledano can still tell the story, so I won’t fault him.

(Tangent: has an interview with Toledano.  It’s short, but sweet.)


The Story of Louviers

For someone who was kind of smarmy and evil and mysterious, he turns out to be quite the tragic figure in this story.

Of course, that’s what everyone in this series so far has been, haven’t they?

The story is set in a war-torn nation somewhere in Europe (think Serbia), where a slightly younger Louviers takes a train into town under the guise of being a new press photographer.  He witnesses the horrors of the war, meets the opportunistic world press, and drops straight into a horrible and quickly worsening situation. But what is his mission? Who is he working for? Where is Scissors? Keep reading….

Along the way, the book flashes back to all the events that were hinted at or shown from Scissor’s point of view in the original series that he was involved in.  That includes the aftermath in the shower at school with the scissors, the blown up apartment building, and even their time spent working together as an assassin team.

There’s a lot more going on than we knew, though one or two parts of it we might have guessed, had we thought about it.  Writer Jose Manuel Robledo makes connections that couldn’t be shown yet during the space of the original three volumes.


Was This Planned All Along?

The way this story fills in so many gaps in the original series, I wonder if it was meant to be the fourth volume initially, and not just four years later.  Was it pushed off because marketing said the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” thing was too good and couldn’t be destroyed for a fourth?  Did they push it off because sales were low, but the series picked up readers afterwards?  Did they delay it because the creative team took better offers somewhere else to do another series? (They’re in the middle of one now, with the first two parts of “Tebori” out last year and a third presumably on its way.)  Were they just busy with their other art-related jobs?  (From what I’ve read, both creators do work in graphic design and illustration.)

In the end, it doesn’t matter. That’s the glory of discovering a series after it’s completed.  I’m just a process and editorial junkie who can’t help but wonder about these things.


The End of Ken Games

That’s a wrap.  I suppose there are ways to add to this series.  It would be easy enough to pick up where they left off at the end of volume 3 and see Scissors get called back in for one mission, or to have to face the people who are no doubt unhappy with her over Fermat’s win in that last boxing match.  (Even if they are dead to her…)  I don’t know that TJ’s adventures in Los Vegas would be very exciting.  Rock landed in a good place. Nobody demands comics based on mathematical scholars, either.

The total story of “Ken Games” wraps up in four volumes, and that’s OK. It gives you something complete to read.  I give this series my most enthusiastic recommendation.  It’s top notch thriller/suspense material; Toledano and Robledo masterfully piece it together. Think of it as “Lost,” but with a full plan worked out ahead of time and executed properly.


Previously, In This Series…

Ken Games volume 1: "Rock" cover

Volume 1: “Rock”

Ken Games v2 Paper

Volume 2: “Paper”

Ken Games v3 cover header image by Marcial Toledano

Volume 3: “Scissors”


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Ken Games v4 cover

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  • Ken Games, v1: "Rock" - Pipeline Comics January 9, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    […] volume.  The first three volumes are available at both Comixology and Izneo.  The prequel (fourth chapter) is not on Comixology, however.  You’ll need to go to Izneo for […]


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