Comic Review – Limbo #5

  • Writer: Dan Watters
  • Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
  • Letterer: Jim Campbell
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Release Date: March 9, 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 major spoilers follow.

I’m always left making the most ridiculous high pitched noises when it comes time for a new issue from Dan Watters and Casper Wijngaard, and Limbo #5 really earned those noises this time.

Last month in Limbo #4, we saw Sandy taking the initiative on her quest to save Clay, Bridgette continuing to lay out the pieces of her plan as she enlists the Teleshaman to rescue Clay from an untimely and awful true death, and my favorite goat in the universe. Seriously, shit got real last month and it seriously only gets more intense from here.

Limbo #5 opens with a conversation between a husband and wife. Not just any husband and wife, no, we get to see Maman Bridgette and Baron Saturday (alternate names of the loa Mama Brigitte and Baron Samedi) sitting together in a graveyard prior to the beginning of the first issue. Boredom strikes everyone, even gods of death, and so we see the couple set out on a wager.

LIMBO #5 Cover by Caspar Wijngaard
LIMBO #5 Cover by Caspar Wijngaard

Finally, we see how Clay wound up in Dedande City. He’s there because of a bet between Maman Bridgette and her husband, a bet that if given a second chance, he’ll either easily return to his old and evil ways (Saturday) or change his ways because he wants to (Bridgette).

According to Papa Legba, who happens to be narrating this tale to Sandy, the two loa then created a world out of Clay’s psyche. A world that Sandy and everyone she’s ever come in contact with has been born out of. So Sandy, the Thumb, and my favorite goat aren’t real.

Apparently. (But I’m just going to doubt Papa Legba because I refuse to believe that my comic book girlfriend isn’t real in her own universe.)

In trying to save Clay, Sandy winds up in the land of the loa, surrounded by mysterious shadows as she walks a path that leads to the death deity’s demesne. I’m seriously in love with how the world of the loa comes across in this issue. It’s dark with flashes of light and images of fracture figures in the murk. Sandy’s greenness is kind of the brightest color there and following her through this underworld as per Papa Legba’s instructions is kind of haunting.

The landscape that Sandy traverses on her way to Baron Saturday is unlike basically anything I’ve seen and I actually feel that the land of the loa that Wijngaard and Watters have imagined is a sort of spiritual successor to The Dreaming, the land that Neil Gaiman created for one of his most infamous Endless. (Except you know… more distressing somehow). I have so many questions, so many thoughts about the worldbuilding process and how these guys got to developing such a vivid world that’s so unlike the usual underworld imagery.

I don’t want to spoil too much more of the issue because it literally is an experience that you need to have for yourself, but okay, the last two pages before the delightedly twisted 1-page comic about Mado the Barbarian (written by Ryan O’Sullivan with illustrations by Plaid Klaus) will leave you screaming because it’s both unexpected and terrible. I expect bad things to happen to Clay, that’s kind of what this series is about, but Sandy –

No. Not my comic book girlfriend.

Every month I gush about the work that Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard are doing. Every month they deserve the praise I give them and more besides. Limbo #5 is beautiful, haunting, upsetting, and ends on the kind of cliffhanger that makes you wish you could see the future if only to find out what’ll happen next. So much happened in this Sandy-focused issue and it was glorious. Next month, we’ll find out what happens with Clay and his truth , Sandy’s “visitor”, and who wins the wager. Holy shit, I can’t wait for this.

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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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