Can we just talk about how fucking cool that cover is? That cover deserves a perfect score all on its own, but unfortunately we’re here to talk about the complete package. Now that sounds ominous, so I will quickly say that this issue is very good. I didn’t finish the last Criminal Macabre series due to time, but I’m beginning to wish I had. Frankenstein aka Adam is still around and something big happened to Cal’s character. You may have noticed those black wings he’s sporting on the cover? Well that’s legit, he looks like that now. I don’t know what they represent and unfortunately the story doesn’t tell us or recap it for us, but it’s big. He’s a human turned ghoul with something else in the mix and I can’t wait to continue reading.
In this issue we learn a dark secret about Cal’s past and it blew me away! Seriously it was an incredible bit of storytelling and an incredible start to the issue. Then we’re introduced to the villain of the story which is two demon babies that are going around and feeding on pain and violence and in doing so they create more. Honestly they were the least impressive part of the issue. They’re still interesting, but compared to everything else there wasn’t a real sense of danger to them and no real connection to Cal just yet.
When we check in with winged Cal we discover him hunting a vampire and this scene is pretty damn awesome. But clearly Cal is still going through some other stuff because when Mo and Adam show up he snaps at them and attempts to beat the hell out of both of them…
Here’s the thing. To really enjoy this issue you need to be a long time reader of the series. Only then can you appreciate how far it’s come and what the current landscape is of the series. If you’re a new reader I hate to say it, but you might be 50/50 on the issue. Some might really like Niles dialogue and his spot on perfect pacing, but others might find the lack of information about the backstory and world to be too much. Hell even I was surprised that there wasn’t some information given about why Cal had wings, but then seeing him fly and shoot guns is kind of a dream come true in the world of comics. Seriously why has it taken this long to get a guy with wings shooting two pistols?
I remember the first time I saw Christopher Mitten’s art on this series… I wasn’t a fan. Now, I can’t imagine the series without him. He’s really left his mark on it like no other artist before him. In fact I can’t even remember the last artist to work on the series besides him. His Cal with wings is quite possibly one of the coolest things I’ve seen in comics, but there’s also Cal’s overall demeanor in the issue that seals the deal. You can see his body language change and then so too does his attitude. That’s just skill and it makes Mitten one hell of a visual storyteller.
This issue is pretty damn close to perfect. My one and only gripe was the demon babies as I feel like they didn’t do enough to make their presence felt as a threat. There are some brutal scenes around them, but they themselves didn’t feel threatening to Cal’s story. Time will tell though.
Writer: Steve Niles Artist: Christopher Mitten Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/17/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital