Cover to ‘Kid Lobotomy’ #1. Art by Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain/Black Crown/IDW

By Jarrod Jones. Pick up a copy of Kid Lobotomy #1 and listen. You can almost hear it, can’t you? The scampering of roaches, the plucking of harp strings. It plays a lullaby, only your eyes are getting wider. And the wider and wider you eyes go, the more Kid Lobotomy puts in your brain. Don’t worry, it’s good for you; the things Peter Milligan and Tess Fowler have concocted for our consumption come from a place of pure inspiration. They’ve tapped into Kafka, Shakespeare, Bowie and Burroughs, the corners of culture where lovers dare.

Like the eponymous Kid, who entertains an epiphany early on in the issue by just going with it, Milligan and Fowler have let the right side of their brains run amok all over the pages of this corker of a debut. Black Crown is here, its introductory series a mad brew of mission statement, taboo-vivisection, and bold creative heights. It’s daring, in the way too few comics are daring. It wants to upset you in some way, pinch your arm to make sure you’re really there. Are you paying attention? There may be a test in future issues.

For comics, Kid Lobotomy is a vital piece of art. The writer of The Extremist and the artist of Rat Queens, united in common purpose. Two creators operating at the heights of their powers, under the loving care of editor Shelly Bond. And Bond has allied this pair with a colorist and a letterer worthy of their mettle. There’s Lee Loughridge, who imbues entire worlds of fantasy with as much dutiful tint, tone, and hue as he would an explosion of skull, eyeballs, and brains. And those words you’re reading? Aditya Bidikar, who’s done magnificent things with books like Motor Crush and Black Cloud. This generation’s Todd Klein, as far as this writer’s concerned.

Interior page to 'Kid Lobotomy' #1. Art by Tess Fowler and Lee Loughridge/Black Crown/IDW

Interior page to ‘Kid Lobotomy’ #1. Art by Tess Fowler and Lee Loughridge/Black Crown/IDW

It’s all so very intriguing. Kid is certainly not in his right mind; he indulges flashbacks and reveries that may or may not have the same tenuous relationship with reality as his waking life. Who can say. The roaches scamper this way and that through the cracks of The Suites and the cracks of his mind. Kid has an incredibly unhealthy relationship with his sister, a ferocity of blonde curls and sinister grins, and while I don’t think I caught her name in this issue I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if it turned out to be “Cordelia.” It’s going to be that kind of series.

There’s The Suites itself, a crumbling hotel located at “the cross street of comics and chaos.” It certainly looks it. Think Sanctum Soho crossed with Dante’s Purgatorio and you’re about halfway there. Its employees are gorgeous in that stupefying way, though don’t ask Kid how they got there. There’s inference that they’re all an extension of his id, though I’m not 100% on whether Kid’s musings are to be taken literally or not. “I can’t remember meeting any of the employees… I mean look at her,” he thinks to himself, evaluating the conspicuously obvious nature of the chambermaid. “What hotel chambermaid really looks like that? Except in some pathetically male, sexually frustrated region of my own febrile brain?” At least Kid is aware of that.

There’s more. There’s so much more. All of it, packed into a single issue that offers the sweet promise of more wanton abandon to come. Look upon Kid, standing over a rooftop at night in naught but his Union Jack speedo and Doc Martens, clutching at his harp like a wild-eyed Orpheus. He’s comics’ own Ferdinand Magellan, a navigator of the cerebral cortex. An icon.

Black Crown/$3.99

Written by Peter Milligan.

Art by Tess Fowler.

Colors by Lee Loughridge.

Letters by Aditya Bidikar.

10 out of 10