Karnak: The Flaw in All Things

karnak the flaw in all things cover trade paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Completely different character to explore

Initial release problems, hard to balance

Comic Info

Comic Name:   Karnak

Publisher:   Marvel Comics

Writer: Writer

Artist: Artist

# of Issues:   6

Release Date: Release Date

karnak #3 cover david aja art

Karnak #3

Reprints Karnak #1-6 (December 2015-April 2017).  Karnak is the head of the Tower of Wisdom, and throughout his life, he has sought perfection…by finding flaws.  Passed over for the Terrigen treatment by his parents, Karnak evolved his own way and took studies and philosophies to hone his skill, and now he’s been called upon by Agent Coulson at S. H. I. E. L. D. to track down a new Inhuman that has been taken by a cult.  While Karnak learns that the Inhuman might not have any real powers, he also sees a flaw in that assumption…and the flaw threatens to destroy his whole philosophy of life!

Written by Warren Ellis, Karnak:  The Flaw in All Things is an adult targeted limited series by Marvel.  The comic book faced production problems and artist Gerardo Zaffino was replaced by Roland Boschi.

Karnak is a really weird choice for a limited series.  The character has been around for decades and was part of the Inhumans’ first big appearance in Fantastic Four (1) #45 (December 1965), but for the most part, Karnak was always a supporting character behind Black Bolt and Medusa and rarely got to strike out on his own.  Here, we get to see Karnak acting on his own accord, and it is an interesting journey if nothing else.

The first problem with Karnak was the external problem.  The series got delayed forever.  I bought the first issue when it came out and waited and waited…losing interest quickly.  The six issue series was sporadic and would just randomly ship.  This started with an initial personal problem for artist Gerardo Zaffino, led to a team reshuffling, and even a semi-apology from Warren Ellis who realized the delays were somewhat unacceptable (though maybe unavoidable).  Despite this, the short series read as a whole is pretty entertaining.

karnak #5 cover david aja art

Karnak #5

The book is largely a book of philosophy intermixed with comic book fighting.  It is a tricky balance to get, and you don’t want to overload the reader on the philosophy nor just have pages of action…both of which do occur in the short collection.  If nothing else, it is interesting to see this battle being fought by Ellis and the artists to some success and shocking moments.

I like the art for Karnak, but the covers leave me wishing that David Aja had done the whole book.  I do prefer Gerardo Zaffino’s issues (Karnak #1-2) more than Roland Boschi’s issues, and I wish that he had been able to finish the series.  I find it frustrating when artists are switched out either intentionally or through circumstance within a limited series.  The art and writing of a comic often are inseparable and in a comic like Karnak which all about flow and flaws, that hurts a bit more.

Karnak is a lot like many of Ellis’ comics.  Ellis takes a lot of risks and sometimes they pay off big or other times they fizzle.  Karnak started out big and still had big moments throughout, but it never just seemed to peak to that really, really awesome level which it felt like it was heading.  I would like to see a follow-up to Karnak:  The Flaw in All Things but with all the problems with the original series, I don’t see that happening.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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