Review: Garth Ennis’ ‘Caliban’ #1

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A wicked pleasure to read, “Caliban” #1 gets the heart racing and blood pumping nonstop. Take a terrifying journey into the dark emptiness of outer space. From the demented mind that brought you “Crossed,” writer Garth Ennis brings readers a spine chilling sci-fi thriller.

WRITTEN BY: Garth Ennis
ART BY: Facundo Percio
PUBLISHER: Avatar Press
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: April 2, 2013

The mining spaceship, known as Caliban, travels across warp speed, floating between time and galaxies. This is supposed to be a routine, regular mission that should hold no excitement for the space crew. But something horribly unexpected occurs during their mind-numbingly boring space trip. The Caliban ends up crossing paths with a giant alien battleship. It’s not that the two spaceships crashed into each other. It’s just that the two ships somehow phased into each other during warp speed. The crew should be worried about what lurks in the darkness, moving from one ship to another, searching for prey.

Heavily influenced by Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, Alien, Ennis takes his own creative spin on survival horror, focusing on atmospheric tension. Ennis introduces readers to a few likable protagonists and throws in some of his witty humor. Through the thought captions of Nomi’s first-person narration, we get a sense that space is uncomfortably draining and dull. It’s a regular job with no satisfaction as Nomi wishes she were somewhere else and reminisces about her childhood memories. I thought it was hilarious that Ennis has Nomi abruptly stop her train of thought in mid-sentence and then go back to it later on.

The suspenseful narrative is told from the points of view of two female protagonists, Nomi and San. While Nomi is expressive introvert, San exudes her tough exterior with sarcasm. The banter between the two while they are working is Ennis at his best. The back and forth dialogue reveals a lot about their personality and back-story. You can’t help but relate to him, just before the horror strikes.
Artist Facundo Percio delivers well-detailed illustrations about the mining and alien spaceships. Though the ships and gadgets look futuristic, I enjoy how Percio illustrates San and Nomi working on the hi-tech machines as if they were car mechanics. San even gets her hands dirty with grease as she finishes up fixing the technical problems. These aren’t scientists up in space; they’re average, everyday blue-collar workers.

Readers can tell Percio has every inch of the spaceships mapped out. The illustrations of the two ships phased together are unbelievably impressive. Percio pushes the horror to the extreme when the artwork captures a human being locked between walls. Half of his limbs look like they have been chopped off and the victim is hurling blood from his mouth.

A terrific first installment, “Caliban” #1 is a definite must-read for sci-fi and horror fans. I can’t wait to see what Ennis and Percio have in store for readers in the next issue.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis