By Patrick Wolf
Spectress and Sabanion #1 is a solid opening to a story that features a paranormal prison escape from both the prisoner and guard perspectives. While the prison break isn’t quite as explosive as I would've liked, the pacing is still fast enough to keep readers on their toes. So, if you’re into supernatural thrillers from the ghost’s point of view, this might just be what you’re looking for.
Spectress and Sabanion takes place in a secret government facility that imprisons the supernatural. When the ghost, Spectress, possesses a guard’s body and uses it to free the demon Sabanion, all hell breaks loose. Not only must Spectress and Sabanion escape the prison without killing any guards, but also they must defeat a pair of highly trained exorcists. Will Spectress and Sabanion be able to win their freedom or will they be sent back to their high-tech tomb?
As I mentioned earlier, this is a pretty solid comic. The story’s well told, the pacing’s just right, and the characters are likable. While it’s not clear if there’s an overarching plot besides the prison escape, you get the feeling there may be more—especially with the long history of the spectral facility. In particular, I really enjoyed the back-story of the guard, Sorenson. It gave me an interesting take on the gulf war as well as an opportunity to identify with him more. I also liked the demon, Sabanion. While he’s evil and sadistic, he’s also honest and confident, which makes him surprisingly more likable than some of the other characters. In many ways, Sabanion reminds me of Dragon Ball Z’s beloved anti-hero, Vegeta.
The only issue I had was identifying the true protagonist of this story. The comic’s called Spectress and Sabanion, so you’d think it’s safe to assume they’re the main characters, but most of the comic takes place from the guard Sorenson’s point of view. Because of this overlap, I was a bit confused, but it's not a deal-breaker either. I’m sure this equivocation will be resolved in the next installment.
Another issue I had with this series was the character design of the exorcists. They looked exactly as I imagined they’d look, which isn’t a good sign. The priest archetype of the classic exorcist has been done so many times. I wish this series had taken the opportunity to make their exorcists standout from previous exorcist renditions—especially since the exorcists in this universe aren’t even religious.
That said, with the exception of these minor details, the series is solid and warrants a read from anyone interested supernatural fiction. While the artwork isn’t anything that’ll knock you off your feet, it’s consistent, done well, and in-line with the themes of this series. Kudos to Zauer and his team for bringing this story to life. I’m interested to see how Spectress and Sabanion do in issue #2.
Spectress and Sabanion #1
Writer: Kurt Zauer
Artist: Irene Campos
Colorist: Roberto Dobles
Letterer: Weston Design Studio
Publisher: Cagey Comics