REVIEW: 'Arcade Kings' #3 by Dylan Burnett, Walter Baiamonte, and Sara Antonellini



Writer: Dylan Burnett

Artist: Dylan Burnett, Walter Baiamonte, Sara Antonellini

Letterer: Andworld Design

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: July 19, 2023

Cover Price: $7.99


Unable to match his brother Joe's power and skills, Ken discovered a new place to train: the Row, home to the most highly competitive arcades in Infinity City. But when Victor McMax's bid to take over the entire city brings his high-powered goons there, Ken has no choice but to protect his new home and put his fists to work.


★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)

'Arcade Kings' continues to be a complete blast. Another issue, another exciting match but for all the great kinetic fighting action that happens there is a real heart to this story of two brothers estranged, emerging from the trauma of an abusive father living in a world choked by corporate greed. Dylan Burnett's influences of video games, manga, and martial arts are self-evident, fun, and rousing. But the inner turmoil of characters like Joe and Ken makes this series relatable, absorbing, and worth rooting for. 

Ken runs his own and last independent arcade in the city. Yet, it's squarely in the crosshairs of McMax's empire to own it like everything else on the island. He's a benevolent boss, takes care of people, and sometimes has to fight off bullies. When an old friend appears as an intermediary, old wounds hurt a little more than usual. Ken still holds onto a lot of pain and it's something he struggles with. Despite all his power and fighting skills, Ken has the weight of the world on his shoulders and scars of the past that he's reminded of every day. This is pretty heavy for a fun action-fighting comic but it's obviously more than that. Burnett's subversive plotting gives 'Arcade Kings' plenty of teeth, a solid foundation of people seeking resolution, freedom, love, and reconciliation. It just so happens to be dressed in beautifully bright colors by Walter Baiamonte and Sara Antonellini but underneath that is a heartwrenching drama playing out. 

'Arcade Kings' defies expectations and subverts its colorful fun fighting bouts with a very human and compelling story. Come for the fireworks but stay for the storytelling.