Current Reviews


Kolchak Tales Of Night Stalker #7

Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2005
By: Ray Tate

"The Saggath"

Writer: Dan Ulanski
Artists: Kirk Jarvinen(p), Keith Williams(i), Wally Lowe(c)
Publisher: Moonstone

Dave Ulanski and Kirk Jarvinen return to the blotter for another Kolchak: Tales of the Night Stalker that highlights one of the elements of storycraft in which comic books used to specialize. In the premiere issue of Kolchak, Carl traveled to New Orleans to investigate a series of murders comitted by a pair of very different creatures and ended up with an affliction that made him break out in leaves.

This issue, Carl returns to New Orleans by hook or by crook for the follow up. Now this is a very clever twist to the typical monster-of- the-week plot and the comic book on three levels. Good reporters always follow up their stories. Carl Kolchak in the television series did so in his premiere series episode in which he faced down a victim of Janos Skorzeney--the vampire which found Carl's stake very rare indeed. Comic books also used to use their series format and continuity to occasionally return to recently trod ground. They in fact used to do this better than any other medium.

Novels would have to create spans of time through chapter breaks, and
only the best novelists could use the technique subtly. Television didn't have the permanence of the written medium. Movies suffered from the same problem. Comic books however were unique in that they were published continuously and maintained a linear continuity. Yes, once they did. I'm not kidding.

The follow up to Ulanski's story provides permanent closure to the New Orleans case, and the way in which the author proceeds exhibits thoughtful plotting that I'm betting was his intent all along. The incorporation of the typical Kolchak oddball character into the plot makes sense and gives the origin resonance. Dialogue crackles, and Ulanski's sense of humor directed through the Kolchak lens perfectly suits the mood and the series' atmosphere.

Kirk Jarvinen and Keith Williams provide their distinctive caricature for Kolchak. In many ways their illustration of the shabby newsman remind me of Charlie Adlard's X-Files. The comic book counterparts may not be photographs of the actors, but they capture the actors' essences and become the model for which others should follow.

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