Comic Review – Limbo #1

  • Writer: Dan Watters
  • Art: Caspar Wijngaard
  • Letters: Jim Campbell
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Release Date: November 11, 2015

Image Comics keeps hitting it out of the park with their recent releases and the first issue of Limbo is one of those comics that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. Created by the writer-artist team of Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard, Limbo #1 is this dark story that feels a bit like the neon-lit lovechild of Raymond Chandler and Jim Butcher before his books got too weird.

I’m in heaven.

The protagonist of Limbo, the amnesiac Mr. Clay, isn’t though.

Limbo #1 cover
Limbo #1 cover art by Caspar Wijngaard

After waking up without any memories in the aptly named Dedande City (trust me, say it out loud), he’s spent the past nine months trying to find himself and stay afloat in a place that’s likely to literally chew him up and spit him right back out. He’s a private eye in a city full of creepy secrets and every move that he makes seems to be a bad one.

So far, there’s nothing about this book that I don’t like. There are a few things that I don’t get, but let’s chalk that up to me being so excited that I’ve missed a few things. Clay appears to be the quintessential hard-boiled detective and his story seems like a modified version of something that you could read in the pulps or listen to on the radio. The dark world of Dedande City is an in-between world where outright horrors drink at the bar next to you and the streets aren’t safe for anyone – well except for these adorable Sugar Skull girls who show up early on in the issue.

It’s amazing. It’s also hilarious watching Clay try to pick his way home through alleyways as the spiritual symbols of Dia de los Muertos take to the streets in celebration. He’s scared out of his mind and pissed because he’s just missed out on a lead, but it’s just kind of amusing because he really doesn’t belong. There are a couple of pages where that’s incredibly clear but there’s none so obvious as one where Clay’s kind of having a pity party as we see several of the city’s locals hanging out. When compared to them, Clay screams outsider.

Despite that mark against him, Clay still tries hard. He’s working. He’s interacting with people. He even has help in the form of Sandy – his landlord, rescuer, and my favorite character in the comic so far. She’s literally the best character. Sandy is a practitioner who communicates with the loa (spirits common in voodoo) by dancing. So much dancing.

Her introduction is basically her dancing in the middle of the apartment. How fun is that? Caspar Wijngaard’s art is amazing, but there are a couple of pages that really clicked and this was one of them. The other was the page where we get introduced to the dame that’ll probably get Clay killed for real. The top right panels have that gritty feel like we’ve stepped back in time to like The Maltese Falcon. The page composition is just beautiful. All of the pages are nice to look at, true, but theres something about the fact that Bridgette’s face is hidden and how she hides from the viewer for those two panels that is simply stunning.

Limbo #1 is definitely a book that you have to read to believe. Without any further spoilers, I just have to say that their choice of villain (and villainous henchmen) is awesome. Limbo #1 looks good. It combines a lot of what was good about the pulps and what’s fantastic about the urban fantasy but there’s also a noted effort to have diverse characters and a diverse world. I have no idea what’s going on with the static and the goat, but it’s easy to be invested and to want to know more about this world.

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About the author

Zina Hutton

writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories.


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