Thursday, September 20, 2012

There's a new Cal McDonald original graphic novel out this week...did you really think I was going to be talking about anything else? Steve Niles of course writes, and super special guest Scott Morse handles the art on "Iron Spirit", and it topped my "must read now" pile this week.

For those who may be unfamiliar, the Criminal Macabre series from Dark Horse follows private detective Cal McDonald, a pill popping, liquor guzzling, bastard of a private detective who will take absolutely no shit whatsoever from anybody, be they living, dead, or undead. With the help of his trusty sidekick (and more often than not, caretaker), a ghoul named MoLock, Cal takes all manner of cases, most ending up being of the supernatural sort. Cal's hunted everything from werewolves, ghouls, and ghosts to Nosferatu himself. In a personal favorite of mine, "Love Me Tenderloin", Cal has his hands full with a string of missing person cases, which ends with him and Mo at a slaughterhouse in a fight to the death with a Meat Monster. Yes, a monster, made up of meat. Meat Monster.

As for Iron Spirit, Cal is having a bit of trouble coping with recent events from the regular comics (Cal now counts himself amongst on of the undead), when he's approached by an elderly Air Force Captain who informs him of the deaths of several innocent people, which he blames himself for and wants to atone. Turns out the military has a top secret bunker below LA, in which the perform certain types of experiments that the public probably doesn't need to know about. Also turns out one of these experiments went horribly wrong, and people are dead. The Captain is looking to enlist Cal's assistance in tracking down the killer, and making things right again.

Steve Niles should need no introduction if you're a regular here, he's the guy who wrote 30 Days of Night, Remains, Wake the Dead, Freaks of the Heartland, etc. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Basically as far as I'm concerned, the guy's a genius. Scott Morse you may not be as familiar with, as he's a bit more obscure. I've admired his work for years though, particularly Spaghetti Western, The Barefoot Serpent, and his contributions to the Hellboy world of comics. For Iron Spirit, he seems to have changed his style a bit to fit into the look of the Criminal Macabre universe, and I must admit, it works out quite well for him. This is a beautifully painted book.

For the money, Iron Spirit is well worth pulling the trigger for we Cal McDonald regulars. For those not familiar with the series, while there's obviously things you may not fully get, like Cal being undead now, there's still a solid story here, with a beginning and an end. I definitely recommend checking it out.

No comments: