Caliber #1


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Caliber #1


  • Words: Sam Sarkar
  • Art: Garrie Gastonny
  • Inks: Garrie Gastonny
  • Colors: Alexander Alexandrov & Svetlin Velinov
  • Story Title: First Canon of Justice (Part 1 of 5)
  • Publisher: Radical Comics
  • Price: $1.00
  • Release Date: Apr 30, 2008

The Arthur legend is retold in the Old West. How does it hold up?

All the archetypes are there. Merlin is replaced by a native shaman named Jean Michael. Morgan le Fay is there tempting those that are powerful. The Pendragons are set for a fall, leaving Arthur to make the peace with a legendary weapon that only fires for the chosen one.

Radical enters the scene making bold statements. Debuting their books in prestige format (read square bound and glossy) for only a dollar with high concepts like this, Hercules, and The Magic Flute. Not only that, word on the street is that Steranko is their art director. He certainly did a cover for Hercules #1.

I’m not an authority on any mythology, much less the Arthur legend. Oh, I saw Excalibur and The Sword and the Stone when I was a kid. I even have a rather worn copy of The Once and Future King. I’ve seen Camelot and the more recent films, there was one with Sean Connery and one that mostly got viewed because of a young actress by the name of Keira Knightley. I know about the sorcerer and the Lady in the Lake. I’m familiar with the Round Table and the fall of Camelot. Problem is the details are fuzzy, so I don’t know how faithful this adaptation is.

I do know that it is very entertaining and if read for its own merit, it is one heck of a story. There are double crosses flying in the very first issue as Arthur’s father goes to investigate a supposed Native American uprising on a reservation. Jean Michael is not as sure of himself as Merlin was and the rest seems to be of its own, with a sick mother to Arthur and the politics of the west. I’m sure some if it correlates to serfdom and the death of the King’s parents, but it escapes me and really in the end, it doesn’t matter as this is a good story on its own.

Sarkar fills the script with enough action and characterization to make this age old story seem new again. It breathes and resonates like it is the first time and that is a difficult thing to achieve with a story that is so well known. Then again, my fuzzy details may work to his favor.

The art is superb. I am not familiar with Gastonny, but the details he gives the book are amazing and the computer coloring from his studio gives it a painted look that seems to breathe on the page. If all Radical’s books look like this, it will be a treat for the eyes.

A promising start that plays on a familiar character set, but makes it its own. With Infinite Horizon also on the stands, one wonders if we need wholly original stories anymore.

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