Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Review - Limbo #1 (@ImageComics)


"This bar does the best damn lizard on a stick in Dedande City."

Limbo as a word defines a state of uncertainty. There's a definite start and a beginning to it, but it's often so ambiguous that it's hard to discern anything of note to anchor one's self too. Image Comics takes that concept to heart in Limbo #1. The issue is written by Dan Watters, illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard and lettered by Jim Campbell.

A detective with no memory, no identity and no manners. A femme fatale seeking escape from a powerful crime lord. A voodoo queen with a penchant for mixtapes and hi-tops. A goat-eating TV...welcome to Dedande City, where good people check under their beds at night and reality is never quite what it seems.

Reading a detective story brings with it the requisite expectations and many regards, Watters doesn't disappoint. Clay is a man extremely adept at observing the world around him, reveling in the fact that even with all his powers as a detective he can't figure out where he is or why he's there. His amnesia about his situation makes for an interesting read, even enforcing his latest case as one that would seem odd to others. Because Watters hinders Clay's abilities through his amnesia, it gives him a chance to see the case with fresh eyes. Getting to that case is a lot of set up on the part of Watters, told primarily by following Clay through a night on the town as he acts as a tour guide for the reader.

The linework by Wijngaard is very crisp and well-defined. It offers the reader an atmosphere that's equal parts seedy part of town and post-apocalypse as Wijngaard focuses on the rundown nature of the environment. Peppered throughout the issue are pops of neon color, infusing the book with an 80s sensibility at times that immediately sets a tone. Wijngaard also illustrates some haunting characters as the town celebrates Dia de los Muertos, adding a extra layer of mystery. And it's not just the luchador gang leader terrorizing the latest client, but there's an overall feel to the book that's similar to that of Guacamelee.

Limbo #1 opens with a character enjoying the finer points of his life in lizard on a stick and ends with a mystery buoyed by a slightly supernatural twist. Clay is seeking answers for both himself and his clients, bringing the reader along for the ride. Watters' script is paced pretty evenly and does a good job of setting the stage for the reader. Wijngaard's illustrations are strong and capture the tone of the book exceptionally well. Limbo #1 is a fascinating first issue that promises to delve into the strange in order to find the answers its characters are looking for.

Limbo #1 is in stores November 11.

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