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Criminal Macabre The Big Bleed Out 3 Main

"Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

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Written by Steve Niles
Illustrated by Gyula Nemeth
Lettered by Nate Piekos
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 12th, 2020

Review:

Cal McDonald has it bad for Victoria. She's all he can think about. The effect she has on him is like a drug. He's itching for his next fix, but he has to wait until the sun goes down before he can see her again. Oh, I didn't mention that she's a vampire, did I? Cal has to find some way to occupy himself during the day, so why not take a case about corpses walking out of a morgue?

Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out is a quintessential supernatural noir tale. It has all the makings of classic private eye stories, but with monsters instead of gangsters and thugs. Granted, there are a few of those too. Writer Steve Niles delivers some great inner narration for Cal, giving us an idea of just how fragile the character's psyche is right now. Victoria is the only thing on his mind and everything else, including the walking dead, is a distraction.

Letterer Nate Piekos shows this narration in caption boxes of varying sizes. They're similar to pages ripped from a notebook, but rougher, like they were scrawled on the back of a napkin or a receipt. That fits well with Cal's overall personality.

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On one hand, this could take his eye off the ball when dealing with other monsters, but on the other, it gives him a strange laser focus. It's like if he can just get through this, he'll be rewarded by being with Victoria again. He doesn't play around here. His attacks are direct and to the point to clear the way for his lady love.

While Cal is certainly in the spotlight for Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out, his partner, Mo'Lock, has an awesome scene fighting a sewer monster that shows just how much of a badass the ghoul is. Artist Gyula Nemeth packs a ton of action and excitement into this cramped space. Mo'Lock's wrinkly appearance contrasts with his intensity as he goes toe-to-toe with this creature, leading up to an incredible final attack.

The colors in this sequence are fitting for its location. It's full of drab greys and greens. Remember, it's a sewer. It's no wonder this monster was able to hide out so long as it blends it well in these surroundings. It lacks a solid form and instead moves like it's made entirely of the mud and sludge moving around these pipes. This makes it even more dangerous.

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Click images to enlarge

The dreary nature of the sewer is the complete opposite of the city above. Nemeth fills these pages with life, moving from the bright light of the day to the beautiful yellows and oranges of the sunsets to the cool blues of the evening. These transitions work well to alter the mood of the story, then throw them into disarray when something shocking happens. For example, Cal has a run-in with one of those aforementioned corpses at night. The calmness is broken by bright red brake lights, altering us to the danger suddenly at play.

There are some twists and turns by the end of this issue and I'm sure we're in for a shock for the fourth and final chapter of this series. It does feel like this story is wrapping up just as it's really getting going, so it's a bummer that it's ending soon. Cal McDonald always comes back and I certainly hope that's the case again because his unlikely adventures as a down-on-his-luck supernatural detective are always entertaining. Criminal Macabre: The Big Bleed Out is no different.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
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Buy from Amazon UK
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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