"My Demon Baby" (part 1 of 4)
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist(s): Nick Stakel, Michelle Madsen (c)
Published by: Dark Horse
EXCLAMATION: ďEh. (after the previous miniís ending), I expected more.Ē
EXPLANATION: The latest Cal McDonald mini kicks off with yet another lively performance of Calís Greatest Self Loathing Hits. Seemingly having just given up and given himself over to the loving embrace of pills, syringes and booze Cal receives a much needed dose of Ďtough loveí from his only remaining friend along with another assignment. Thatís the first half of the issue. The second half is devoted to setting up the stage for the main plot. This spans from Calís finding out the details of the aforementioned assignment to the introduction of the character who gives this series its name i.e. the Demon Baby.
EXAMINATION: For those who might not know (new readers or those who missed the previous mini), the previous Criminal Macabre story had a rather heartbreaking ending to it, especially for Cal for he lost his (former?) girlfriend Sabrina Lynch to the forces of the undead. Vowing to wage a war against the undead and other monster-types Calís rather quick downslide to his sorry state shown at the start of this issue, although somewhat off putting, is suited to the flawed character of, well, this character. That said, I for one was looking forward to Calís Ďwarí, especially learning if there is a way to salvage Sabrina or whether she is fated to stay (permanently) in her current state. Well, maybe in the next one.
As for the demon baby plot itself, it is introduced quite well, right until the actual introduction of the baby. Somehow the birthing ceremony didnít seem appropriately creepy enough. It was too quick, too short in its span to create any half-way ominous effect.
Visually My Demon Baby is a departure from the previous two Cal McDonald stories (Feat of Clay, Two Red Eyes). This is attributed to a new artist, Nick Stakel, and a different coloring scheme from continuing colorist Michelle Madsen. Stylistically different from her previous Criminal Macabre work Madsenís rather subdued colors suit Stakelís gritty sketches.
For some reason, (maybe it is because of the whole cult angle), both during my first read and second I found myself thinking of Virgin Comicsí Snakewoman.
PROCLAMATION: Not quite a hit, not quite a miss, but rather somewhere in between. Still, I am more than willing to give Criminal Macabre: My Demon Baby the benefit of the doubt (for now). Why? Two words: Steve Niles.
You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at http://www.xcave.net
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