By Rodney Turner
Limbo, written by Dan Watters with art by Caspar Wijngaard, blends hard-boiled detective fiction with surreal and Weird elements to create what I can only describe as a mild fever dream. Pastel colors and the predominance of analog technology (CRT TV’s, VHS tapes, and audio cassettes) lend an interesting aesthetic to the book. To further add spice to this creative gumbo, the action is set in a fictionalized version of New Orleans.
The protagonist, an amnesiac detective named Clay, as many pulp detectives, seems from the beginning to stumble through the plot, carried away in a flood of events more than being an active participant. As a character, Clay has little personality outside the basic snark and toughness that comes with a P.I. license in pulp fiction. However, it is highly entertaining to move with him from one dangerous situation to another and I found myself propelled through the story wondering how he was going to get out of whatever jam he found himself stuck in at the time.
The character who broke out for me was the vodoo priestess, Sandy. Sandy has an intriguing method of contacting the loa. Rather than gifts of booze, blood, and tobacco, she offers music in the form of mixtapes crafted with the care that any fantasy wizard would use in creating an enchantment. Initially introduced as a Mrs. Hudson type secondary character. As the story unfolds and the supernatural forces behind Clay’s predicament are revealed, we discover that Sandy is the keystone of the entire tale.
Overall, Limbo is a visually stimulating and engaging read with a satisfying finality to it’s ending. This book has enough meat on it for both fans of Weird and Noir. Even if you are not a comic reader, I recommend checking this one out.