Detective Cal Mcdonald continues busying himself pursuing the affections of a vampire named Victoria. In the meantime, one of Victoria’s donors who came to Cal’s home and tried to kill him in the last issue apparently isn’t dead. But corpses don’t just get up and walk out of the morgue, do they? Meanwhile, Mo’Lock figures out what’s really been happening to the missing city workers. Writer Steve Niles and artist Gyula Nemeth bring us Criminal Macabre #3 in their four-part supernatural thriller with an ending too good to miss. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Cal, think again.
Issue three throws the action into second gear and has some pretty pivotal moments. The most important being the crazy donor. On the surface, the plot is about Cal tracking down a killer. But what the book is really about in its own weird, witty, and hilarious way is about love. Now, whether that love is healthy or not is another story entirely but love nonetheless.
Criminal Macabre #3’s biggest accomplishment is showing the reader how far down the rabbit hole Cal has fallen for Victoria. Whether Cal’s fixing the bullet holes in his front door or investigating missing bodies from the morgue, Cal’s main focus is the sun going down so he can see Victoria again.
Mo’Lock is given an ample amount of panel time to show why he’s a solid character that not only can hold his own but has Cal’s back. There’s a funny exchange between Mo’Lock and Cal subtly where Cal is standing near a manhole cover outside saying to himself, “Where the hell is Mo’Lock?” It was a nice inside joke for the reader as we the reader, not Cal see Mo’Lock fighting a monster in the sewer. In addition to that, the dialogue is short and gets straight to the point which matches the personalities of our two protagonist Cal and Mo’Lock.
First and foremost, I have to start with the brilliant detail work that went into making the cover. After you read the issue and look back at it you’ll realize that it contains some great foreshadowing as well as the two antagonists of the issue. The facial features make Cal look like a man possessed and considering how smitten he is at the moment it works beautifully with the context of the story. Also, the color choices are right on point and the cover looks like a pastel painting.
As for the interior of the book, I think Nemeth’s illustrations fit each issue so well because of his solid gritty pencil work matched with his laser-sharp attention to detail. He made sure to make every location we travel to in this issue so distinct from the next. Within each panel, he knows where to place each character or what to focus on to magnify the intensity of Nile’s writing. This is not only impressive given this is his first comic series but also because I feel like we haven’t even seen the full extent of what he can do. Aside from that, the pacing flows well, the monsters are intensely scary, and it’s really just a fun read.
Criminal Macabre #3 sets up everything perfectly for the last issue. Niles and Nemeth make a really great team and have crafted another awesome issue in this series. If you haven’t already been reading it then I’d highly recommend checking out it out. If you want a story that combines true grit, detective work, and thrills, this is it.
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