“I don’t like killing. But fact is, most humans are a cancer on this planet”
-Here Comes Calico 2
A few months ago I reviewed Issue 1 of Here Comes Calico. I said the premiere issue from Sigma Comics was “a welcome addition to the saga of the vigilante” primarily because it involved a character who sought justice for violence towards animals. Now we have issue 2 ("Sa-Wing Batta Batta") of the comic which continues the hard-boiled story of Calico, a masked vigilante who’s being fed intel from a mysterious source on who to target for committing acts of extreme animal cruelty.
This second issue has a slower pace than the first probably because it doesn’t bear the burden of having to be an introduction. I was glad for that because it gives Calico a bit more empathy as he helps rescue street animals who have been tossed out like garbage. It’s this wanton cruelty that feeds his anger and motivates his actions. The slower pace also allows the story to deepen a bit with the introduction of other characters who support his quest. There’s the good-looking vet who obviously has a jones for Calico (in his street clothes) and helps him with a badly injured kitten he found abandoned. Then there’s June, an old woman who lives in his neighborhood and who keeps an eye out for animal cruelty. And there’s the local fence who Calico sells stolen jewels he got from a South Bronx tenement to finance his operations.
On a job to bring justice to two large-scale animal killers, Calico talks about his background and neighborhood. He visits a pizza shop and mulls over its importance to New York Italians. There are several scenes of the Bronx neighborhood he lives in with evocative depictions of street characters. I particularly liked a large panel (see below) which is beautifully rendered by artist Javier Orabich and colorist Daniel Grimaldi.
a panel of Bronx neighborhood from Here Comes Calico 2
In an ironic lead-up to the climax of issue 2, Calico helps out his first target, a sadist seal-killer, when the man is attacked by local thugs. When you turn to the final page there is a shocking moment when the head of the seal-killer is delivered to his birthday party. It’s a deft bit of re-direction that makes the violence a real shock. The actual visual depiction of the severed head is gruesome but very well done artistically as is the reaction of the people at the birthday party who see it.
Then in a 4-panel denouement at the end, we also see that Calico has delivered justice for June, who we met earlier, by taking off the leg of the landlord who had been kicking his dog over and over. The two representations of vigilante violence (one literal, one implied) are indicative of how carefully considered the story and visuals of this second issue comic are. Kudos to the Sigma team headed by creator/writer H.H. German.
Here Comes Calico Issue 2 is another hard-hitting story that will divide readers on the morality of Calico’s actions. But make no mistake, Sigma Comics and its creators are serious about animal cruelty and Calico, their defender, is not a one-dimensional revenger. He loves his neighborhood and its history. And that's what makes this series so important.
You can subscribe (or donate) to Here Comes Calico at sigmacomics.com. Note that the series is rated M for explicit content. Sigma comics support the Animal Welfare Institute who has been dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by humans since 1951 (awionline.org).
My thanks to Sigma Comics for providing a review copy of Here Comes Calico 2.