Available tomorrow in all fine comic book shops is Steve Nile's continuation of his Cal MacDonald mysteries, titled Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit. Over the last few years Dark Horse Comics has featured stories of Cal MacDonald and obviously they believe this character is worthy of your time and money. This is best said about this new release; this hard cover edition is illustrated by comic book and animation artist Scott Morse and features only 32 pages (all of which are unpublished material) for the hair raising price of $19.99. That's right folks, your purchasing the equivalent of a $3 comic for six times the average price of most single issues. Given the fact that this is a hard cover and the size is larger than normal (9" x 12", to be exact), this comic should be worth the fifteen extra Washingtons, right?
Unfortunately Criminal Macabre: The Iron Spirit does not live up to the retail price. The story finds our main protagonist (or antagonist, for those postmodernists out there) Cal MacDonald once again on assignment, this time recruited by a World War II veteran with an eerie past. This Criminal Macabre episode features the same structure featured in most of Niles' MacDonald tales: customer in desperate need of help, explanation of situation, things go awry, and all ends with MacDonald to the rescue. That's my cookie cutter version.
By the looks of Scott Morse's cover for this book, I was hoping the content inside would be just as glamorous and spectacular. But the tale is not told in normal comic book fashion with panels and word bubbles, but rather in typical story book fashion. This could be fresh and exciting if the illustrations liven up the narration. Instead Morse's artistic depictions are lackluster and come off boring, which is sad to say because the watercolors he uses set a wonderfully murky tone.
If you are a Steve Niles, Criminal Macabre, or Scott Morse completest, chances are you will want this comic to add to your collection. However, I guarantee you after the first read you will regret the amount you spent on purchasing this. Buyers beware, you might wish to bargain shop this one.
Overall Rating: 2/5