Review - Calamity Kate #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"That was the first lesson: if you want to live forever, first you have to die."

Fighting monsters is no easy task. Like anything that requires a commitment, being the best can come at the expense of other things in your life. In Calamity Kate #1 from Dark Horse Comics, other things in life prove difficult for the titular character. The issue is written by Magdalene Visaggio, illustrated by Corin Howell, colored by Valentina Pinto and lettered by Zakk Saam.

Kate Strand reboots her destructive life and moves to LA to be the superhero she always wanted to be--Calamity Kate: gun-toting monster killer. With her latest career change, she faces new challenges, relationships, and competition; desperate to show she's worth a damn in a world overrun by zombies, vampires, demons, goblins, and the ultimate monster bounty: the Seven Fabled Beasts of Yore.

The world created in Calamity Kate #1 is a refreshingly modern take on an old conceit--monsters inhabit the world and it's up to monster hunters to take them out. Visaggio infuses Kate with plenty of the bravado needed to establish herself as one of (if not) the best monster hunters in the world, but that achievement comes at the expense of living her best life. How Visaggio marries to the two concepts (essentially work and home) is fascinating to explore and adding in another layer of monsters on top of that makes it feel new. Kate as a character is everything you'd expect in a monster hunter, in that she's brash, capable and has difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. Much of the first issue is focused on establishing Kate as all of the above and Visaggio does an excellent job of showing off some of Kate's traits that accomplish a clear definition of what makes her tick.

Howell brings a certain energy to the artwork that keeps pace with the frenetic personality of the main character. Kate herself is illustrated with a rugged appearance that befits that of a monster hunter, but Howell manages to make her feel like a person too in other situations. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Howell handles facial expressions so well, effortlessly conveying the ferocity of battle and the excitement of friends. Howell doesn't stray too far from the norm in terms of stylizing the monsters, although they still boast plenty of savageness that reminds the reader they're not to be trifled with. Pinto's colors are dark throughout most of the issue and give the illustrations a lot of weight on page.

Calamity Kate #1 is a pretty slick first issue that sets the stakes for the series and establishes the main character as up to the task. Calamity Kate is a cocky yet skilled combatant looking to make some amends in her life while simultaneously killing monsters. Visaggio's script is fast-paced and gets straight to it, establishing the world of monsters to play in. Howell's artwork is a great match to the story, lending a very sharp style to the story that fits that of a monster bounty hunter's lifestyle. Calamity Kate #1 is a lot of fun and offers up an interesting lead in an interesting world.

Calamity Kate #1 is available March 13.