Laughs and Horror
Once again the story continues to be the most interesting and inventive part of the series. In this issue, the recurring villains continue their machinations. My favorite, Kingman and his Goon, are making use of the truck of drugs they confiscated from the two kingpins in NYC, Lamon, and Maxim. Kingman has a plan that will steal all of the kingpin's business. I wish there were more of Kingman, but I can see a big finale coming in the end. I'll just have to be patient.
And, like the first issue of the comic, there is the stalking, capture, and torture of a man who sells videos of him killing small animals. The torture scene is gruesome even though it's mostly suggestive. Once again, the writer/story will not allow you to take the easy way out: it's an eye for an eye with no in-between. Readers might be cheering or they might be cringing (or both). The real gore comes on the title page which is amazing for its extremes: we see the Jiggler blazing away with the mini-gun has people's bodies and heads explode. Fearless depiction of violence that will divide some readers and attract others.
On the other hand, there's a four-page boxing scene with Calico and a young, talented boxer, which is wonderfully written and illustrated. The contrast between the thoughtful and cunning Calico and Calico the avenger is striking. That the creators of this issue are able to blend the extremes together is remarkable.
Some of this issue is devoted to developing character storylines that will no doubt come to a head in future issues of the comic. Maxim has a particularly repellent personality. He is convinced by the Indian scientist that the hooded super-robot that Calico fought in the last issue is worth developing more as they now have data on the robot's defeat.
Deeper Character Development
Calico continues to develop as a character. In this issue, he's short on rent and is hassled by his landlord. He takes care of a major killer (Jiggler) by using his wits (and some cookies). He then trains with a tough, young boxer and figures out how to beat him, although he takes a beating himself. And he captures a monster animal killer and tortures him (presumably to death). The fact that all of these things are done by the same person is almost hard to believe. Almost...
That's what makes the Here Comes Calico series so interesting and worthwhile. Where other writers and artists might let their pulp leanings take over, the violence and cruelty in the comic are controlled and not only used for effect, but to say something about human nature. It's the kind of fearlessness in comic creation that you don't often see since so much of superhero comics are contrived, sentimental cliches.
The art is particularly excellent in this issue (Renato Pinto, Artist/Letterer, and Daniel Grimaldi, Colorist). There are several scenes that are eye-catching. The title/credit opening scene with the Jiggler on a rampage is beautiful as it is repulsive. The continuing mysterious arrival of Mr. Feng is mostly wordless, which adds to the mystery of this character. And, as I've already mentioned, the boxing scene is so well done. You can almost hear the squeak of their shoes, the grunting as a blow lands, and the rapid breathing of the fighters. I just love this sequence.
I'm looking forward to issue #6 of Here Comes Calico. That financial support for the publishing of each issue continues to come through is a testament to just how good the series is.
And remember, Sigma Comics supports the Catskill Animal Sanctuary and the Animal Welfare Institute. Another reason to support this exciting comics series.