Reviews

Comic Review – Limbo #3

  • Writer: Dan Watters
  • Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
  • Letterer: Jim Campbell
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Release Date: January 13, 2016

This advance review was made possible by series creators Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard who helpfully provided me with a review copy. Honest thoughts and mild spoilers follow.

Seriously, Limbo is one of those comics that just gets better and better every issue. It started out at the top and just kept going.

Last month in Limbo #2, we got to see another side to Dedande City: the Televerse. It was a fun and totally trippy issue that gave us a bit more on what’s going on with Dedande City and how screwed Clay is. I loved the issue for so many reasons but Sandy saving the day with her boss video game skills was definitely in the top five of the issue’s great moments.

This month, Limbo #3 basically throws us back to the film noir feel. When I reviewed Limbo #1 back in November, I called the book the “neon-lit lovechild of Raymond Chandler and Jim Butcher” because it is. The callback to old-Hollywood narrative threads gets super intense in issue three and I found myself kind of giddy at the fact that I could actually kind of pick up on the tropes that Watters and Wijngaard are reinventing and updating.

LIMBO #3 Cover by Caspar Wijngaard
LIMBO #3 Cover by Caspar Wijngaard

So yes, Limbo #3 is fantastic for a ton of reasons.

The issue opens on a party, one of many that Dedande City seems to have going on at any given moment. However, it’s not all fun and games as an unseen figure starts to panic and we see snakes spilling out alongside music from the instruments that the band at the party is playing. It’s pretty clear that this isn’t going to have a happy ending for him.

The first time we see Clay this issue is on the next page. There’s a huge tonal shift from the panic and frantic imagery of the first page and this one where Clay and his client Bridgette are eating pancakes in a diner. Okay, Clay is eating pancakes. Bridgette is just there judging him for getting caught by The Thumb and the Teleshaman.

I love Clay’s devil may care attitude but it’s also so obviously a front that I just can’t stop myself from rolling my eyes. What a nub, geez. I don’t blame Bridgette for being tired of his crap after like what – a day? I would be too if I were her.

With The Thumb obviously about to end both Clay and Bridgette’s time in Dedande City, Clay gives his client a magical spy device to place in his office and she gives him an address to someplace (supposedly) safe in case anyone comes after him before walking out of the diner. I’m seriously getting some intense femme fatale vibes from Bridgette and you will too once you get a little farther into the issue.

There’s something about her that isn’t all on the up and up and I can’t wait to see what it is.

After the diner, Clay meets up with my wife Sandy. Seriously, I love how she just keeps being interesting, you know? Clay should be the audience proxy because we know just as much about Dedande City as he does, but there’s something about Sandy that’s more accessible to me. She’s not an outsider, but the city still finds new ways to mess with her and watching her deal with curveballs in innovative ways is just great. Like I could easily go for a cute visual novel or oneshot comic about Sandy’s life before coming across Clay if we don’t get that information in the actual Limbo series.

But yes, Sandy is awesome and important. Last issue, she offended Papa Legba with the way that she spoke to him during the Teleshaman incident, and she now has to fix her relationship with him. Which means a trip to the record store. I loved the feel of those pages. We see Sandy interacting with one of her clients along with some of her backstory and point of view about Clay’s night terrors while they’re holed up in that safehouse. (We even get a couple of Sandy’s own journal entries that really shed some light onto Clay’s mysterious everything.)

And I like that. We need more comic characters like Sandy who are friends with characters like Clay because their dynamic is just on point. Seriously, the second the narration boxes shifted and we got Sandy’s POV about Clay, I knew stuff was going to go down.

And it did.

Oh.

It so did.

I wasn’t bothered by mannequins until recently, but one part of Limbo #3 has this gorgeous but terrifying thing going on where all of the mannequins in the room around them start being possessed by snakes. On their own, snakes and mannequins are terrifying enough. But together?

It’s the stuff of nightmares. Especially when they start to move.

Okay, so that was terrifying. And when they grab Clay? Yeah, I wasn’t actually expecting that.

Now I don’t want to spoil anything else, but there’s a pretty big reveal that happens near the end of the issue that you’ll possibly miss if you’re not familiar with the loa. But trust me, a certain beautiful lady isn’t exactly who she appears to be and I feel as if it’s going to set the stage for a conflict involving different factions of the loa in Dedande City.

I need everyone to be reading Limbo. I mean it. Limbo #3 was amazing and when I got to where Sandy and I both had the realization about that one specific character, I had to pause to just go over the comic so far. Because Watters and Wijngaard have set things up so perfectly that if you were paying attention, you’d have missed it. But it’s genius.

This is such a clever comic and then it’s also really nice to look at (seriously, go flip through issue two a few times and just bask in the innovative art direction). So you’re getting stuff about the afterlife that incorporates diverse characters and different religious aspects and it’s all so good. I think that Limbo might actually spoil me for other urban fantasy comics because it’s just filled with so much of the things that I like in my comics. Gosh.


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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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