Crowdfunding Review: “More Lethal” (King Toad Comics, Monochrome May Special)

Welcome back to Monochrome May, The Splintering’s month-long celebration of all things chiaroscuro!

Today we’ll be reviewing the crowdfunded action/sci-fi comic book More Lethal by King Toad Comics.  For those of you not familiar with the “crowdfunding review” format, we grade a crowdfunding campaign on four distinct categories:

  • Book Content and Quality
  • Communication and Fulfillment
  • Packaging and Shipping
  • Stretch Goals and Bonuses

With More Lethal, I backed the comic + card tier.  This campaign was exclusive to Indiegogo.

Did More Lethal deliver

Book Content and Quality

Written by Aaron Calimeri (CyberShock 1.0) and illustrated by Ibai Canales (The Abductables), More Lethal is a 21-page book presented in a smaller, ashcan format (8.5″ x 5.5″).

The story follows a sword-wielding android heroine named Akane, who sets off to rescue her kidnapped master Nagato from a horde of cyberninjas. It’s a simple premise, and it all begins with a bang. It’s action-packed from page one, and the entire book feels like the final scene from a larger movie. There is a tiny bit of backstory to cover, and the exposition catches you up a bit, but there’s no escaping the fact that the story is mostly flash that reads very quickly.

I’ve become quite an Ibai Canales fan over the past few years, though the art in More Lethal isn’t his best work. At least his style matches the dynamic action and hyper violence of the story. The artwork doesn’t reach the same heights as Iron Sights – 2 Psychos in terms of character expression or setting a mood, but it is still fun, visceral, and perfectly paced for what is essentially a climactic showdown, and that very well may be the point. There were a couple of confusing panels where the action wasn’t very clear, but these weren’t too distracting. I should also note that the inside of the front cover is used as the first page, which doesn’t bother me, but it’s unorthodox.

The key to More Lethal is that it is irreverent and fun. There’s an interesting gaming schtick where Akane unlocks new abilities when she “powers up”, and I noticed an Abductables easter egg dropped in, too. Overall, More Lethal isn’t high on substance, it isn’t for everyone, and it probably will leave you wanting a little more, but it’s still a pretty enjoyable vignette for as quick a read as it is. Not too bad for a $5 buy-in price.

Stiffy in the face!

Grade: B-


Communication and Fulfillment

The More Lethal campaign ended successfully in July 2020.  The book was expected to ship in Jan 2021, yet my copy hit my mailbox in November 2020. That’s a great turnaround time, particularly when compared to the large and growing number of late crowdfunded projects.

Aaron Calimeri updated backers at an average rate of twice a month, both by sending emails (my preferred communication method) and by posting updates to the Indiegogo campaign page (the preferred method of wacky weirdos everywhere). This may not be the optimal amount of communication for some backers, but nobody was ever really kept out of the loop.

Grade: A-


Packaging and Shipping

While I did not receive a tracking number for the shipment, Calimeri sent an email out to notify backers when the books shipped.

The book arrived bagged and sealed in a small, stiff envelope. It all landed in my mailbox safe and sound. The bonus items were all packed in the same bag. Given those shipping materials and that the actual postage was $1.40, however, it certainly doesn’t look as though the additional $5 shipping charge went to good use. I’ve had other crowdfunded books ship in gemini mailers for less than $5, so that left a slightly sour taste in my mouth, and my wallet.

Grade: C+


Stretch Goals and Bonuses

I received two bonus items as part of my book pledge:

  • A trading card featuring artwork by Carla Tornielli (The Grim Reaper)
  • A print featuring artwork by Brandon Diaz (Magic Cop)

Tornielli’s artwork for the card looks great, with a fun anime-inspired portrait of Akane. The card stock was a standard, glossy quality. The back of the card was a bit boring, however, with only a subdued image of the book cover art and a logo. A small gripe.

The larger print by Brandon Diaz features a risqué image of nude Akane sprawled across a bed printed on firm stock. It’s a fun bonus, but one certainly for the discerning, mature consumer. As a dad with kids in the house, I don’t exactly know what I will do with it other than leave it packed with the book. The sex robot thing doesn’t do too much for me anyway, but if it gets your gears running, to each his own, Lando.

Either way, it was fun to get multiple bonuses with my book having only paid for a $5 tier.

Grade: B+


Overall, the More Lethal campaign was largely successful in what it set out to do – tell a quick, action-packed sci-fi tale with a low cost buy-in. If there was a bit more substance to the story and I didn’t feel slightly hoodwinked with the inflated shipping cost, we’d be looking at higher marks here at the end.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of More Lethal, you’re in luck. While the original in demand page has long since shut down, you can check out King Toad Comics’ latest campaign for MRDR WPN, which features a backing tier that includes a copy of More Lethal. It looks like the domestic US shipping charges start at $10 this time around, though. In any case, you can check out the MRDR WPN campaign here.

Overall Grade: B (not an average)

Cover by Joseph Ball

Thanks for reading!

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