It’s an ending as they say. It’s difficult to say whether it’s good or bad since anyone familiar with Steve Niles writing is likely to see the ending coming from a mile away. Add the fact that the cover is beyond revealing and you’re likely to rush through this issue just to see the ending and call it good on another chapter of Cal MacDonald’s life.
This is the last issue… expect some spoilers to be discussed ahead. You’ve been warned.
In the last issue Alice Blood was captured and Cal was possibly killed. We kick off with him standing up, pouring out blood and missing half of his body. He pukes more black stuff and lies back down after trying to sound tough. The detective he’s been hanging out with becomes privy to the info that Cal is undead, which I still don’t quite understand. I’m guessing that’s what makes Cal special is that he’s not so Ghoulish as the others, but I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just not clicking with me. After way too long of a conversation, Molock tells the officer that he needs his blood in order to bring him back. They perform a ritual and Cal’s eyes pop open and he tells them that it’s not enough blood. The other Ghouls arrive and offer their blood. I’m not sure where these remaining Ghouls have been, but hey they save Cal’s life and they all move on to fight the vamps once more.
I can’t fault the ending since Niles has been building towards it since the beginning, but it wasn’t very thrilling. It felt like most crossovers in that nothing different could really happen, but instead of getting a mega super happy ending, we got one that is familiar to how both series usually end. There was also a lot of emphasis on the blood, but then nothing really happened. Perhaps it will feed into the future Criminal Macabre series, but I expected something to come from the Ghouls donating so much blood. Also, Cal’s sickness was never explained… I really want to know why he was puking black stuff up.
The art wasn’t that bad this time around, but it still didn’t add any intensity to the issue. I think it plays a strong role in why the ending was so underwhelming. If you were to remove the art and just read the script I think the impact of what’s happening would be big, but when you see the art it’s just, “Oh that’s what’s happening.” Cal’s emotions at the end of the issue are very good, but everything leading up to that has no impact.
I liked it, but I didn’t love it and I really thought after the last issue there was going to be something special about the ending. Instead it was pretty much what I expected. Even the winners are losers and while it was a better crossover than most, it still didn’t pass that bar of excellence in the end. If you’ve been reading the series all along then finish it off for sure, but if you missed out on it then pick it up in trade at this point. I’m sure we’ll see Cal again, but I’d really like to see him actually beat some vampire ass next time.
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Christopher Mitten
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 3/27/13