Caliban #3 (Comics Review)

When horror is mixed with science fiction/space opera and the execution ends up being really good, then you know that you have a hit on your hands. That’s what Avatar Press’ newest series Caliban is all about. Flying through hyperspace, a starship is knocked back into normal space and ends up colliding with another ship, which isn’t something that can happen. The odds are cosmically insignificant of that happening. But happen it does and the writing-artist duo of Garth Ennis and Facundo Percio are in in top form and they continue to improve.

In their first issue, the two creators introduced all their different characters and in the second issue they expanded the scope to delve into their relationships and explore some of this bold new setting conjured up by Ennis and Percio. In the new third issue, they go a bit further and they really ratchet up the tension and the horror in a series of increasingly more creepy-vibed scenes as things go to hell aboard the Caliban and as more people die off this time around. Both Ennis’ writing and Percio’s art are simply fantastic here.

So far we’ve seen that since the… fusion of the Caliban with some alien ship in hyperspace, things have gone to hell for the characters and that one of their own, Karein, is now somewhat possessed or something, leading him to brutally murder a fellow member of the crew. Now, all of that comes to bloom as Karein’s rampage continues and the plot really thickens, and gets bloodier than before. After last month’s issues I wasn’t really sure whether Ennis would able to top his writing, but he clearly does that here and in a most spectacular manner as well.

With all that has happened in the previous two issues, things are starting to come together for these characters and the story is starting to make a bit more sense as well, since we have that added perspective going in. Many things are still a mysterious, but the characters are intelligently exploring their options in this Alien-esque story that is fully horror and gore this time around. Garth Ennis writes some really visceral action as we saw in last month’s issue, but he still manages to do two better this time around and the final pages are just mesmerisingly amazing in terms of the content of what is happening in them.

This comic is certainly not for the meek-hearted, not by a long stretch.

One thing that stood out for me was the characterisation of Nomi and San. They’ve gotten a fair amount of screen-time previously and among the large cast of the Caliban crew they’ve managed to stand out as well. This time, we see a bit more of their chemistry and how they relate to each other, and how some of the other members of the crew see them as. It creates some nice tension in the story and I loved the angle that Ennis played here, especially given San Malik’s reaction to something that fellow crewmember Cuthbert’s… accusations. That was a good moment and I think I’m kinda in love with San now. She is turning out to be quite a badass and plays well off Nomi Gallo. Good stuff there.

The thing about this issue is that it is the one where things really come to a boil. Karein goes absolutely crazy here this time and he starts attacking the other crewmembers openly. No idea what the hell is wrong with him but something is seriously bloody wrong with him and I can’t wait for the team to put him down. Hopefully.

As before, Facundo Percio leads the charge with Sebastian Cabrol, Hernan Cabrera and Kurt Hathaway. Percio’s pencils are good of course, but I think more credit goes this time to Cabrol and Cabrera for without their inks and colours the absolute creepy nature of Caliban fused with an alien ship would not have worked so well. I mean, I was shuddering at one point for real and the ending totally freaked me the hell out, which also has to do with how Percio draws those final scenes. Simply amazing, and makes this one of the best horror comics I’ve read to date.

With such a strong performance in issue #3, this series has a good future.

Rating: 9/10

More Caliban: #1, #2.

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Posted on June 10, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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