Caliber: First Canon of Justice - Sam Sarkar and Garrie Gastonny

I got a copy of Caliber from Radical Publishing when I was reviewing some of their books for GeekDad. Basically, it's the Arthurian legend, set in the Old West (the Pacific Northwest, specifically). It's a clever adaptation: Excalibur becomes a pistol which only Arthur Pendergon can fire, and that only if it's on the side of the Law. Merlin's role is filled by Jean Michel Whitefeather, a Native American with ties to the white settlements.

I don't know the Arthurian legends well enough to say how well this adaptation fits, but I liked the idea. However, I did find it a little hard to distinguish some of the characters, particularly after the seven-year gap between Arthur-as-child and Arthur-as-young-man. It's a combination of artwork and writing that muddles things a little. Overall, though, I liked the artwork, which is a painted style that is almost photographic in some panels. The writing is okay but not superb, which is (unfortunately) often the case with comics: stilted dialogue that doesn't really capture the personalities of the characters.

And one really overused convention: overlaying a line of dialogue on the last panel of a previous scene. It's borrowed from cinema, when you start to hear audio for the next scene before it changes visually. However, it doesn't quite have the same effect in comics because you can't hear the voices, so you don't get an immediate sense of who's talking, what's going on. The biggest problem here, though, was that it was simply overused.

Decent but mostly for its ties to Arthurian legend; on its own it's a little weaker.

Fed to jonathan's brain | January 15, 2010 | Comments (0)


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