Caliban initially caught my eye because the drastic art style really appealed to me. Being a Science Fiction Horror story that takes place in deep space? That just reeled me in. It turns out this Alien-esque story was exactly what I had hoped!
The first issue absolutely delivers on all my expectations. It’s a morose story set in a disappointing, monotonous future where space exploration is possible via wormholes and warp technology. Right from the start a somber, fatalistic tone is established. There’s basically nothing joyous about the world these characters inhabit. And to make everything worse, the space travel itself has side effects.
You get a sense of life aboard the Caliban, a mining ship, through crew member Nomi’s interactions with the rest of the crew. You get a feel for how Nomi views the world by reading her nihilistic journal entry. The writing overall is unencumbered and natural, slowly drawing you into a bleak mindset before shattering the mood with frantic chaos. An inexplicable event leads to the best part of the book, the surreal SciFi horror part of the show!
Unfortunately, 22 pages of actual story doesn’t feel like enough for this first issue. The back of the book has ten pages of ads and order forms I wish had been a few more pages of story before the abrupt “to be continued” just pulls the plug. Just as I was getting into it, the issue was over… Otherwise there was a good pace to the story, and there’s enough going on to make me want to see what happens next.
The artwork is beautiful. Dark, clean, detailed, and sharp. The muted colors jump off the black background, and great lighting brings to life the occasional glint of metal, glow of a monitor, or sparkle of fear in someone’s eyes. The near-realistic images give the book an animated quality I really like. The story isn’t anything unique as of yet, but I am intrigued. I’m absolutely going to pick up issue #2!