Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artwork: Corin Howell
Colours: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Zakk Saam
Release Date: 13th March 2019
Following her divorce, Kate Strand decides to reinvent herself entirely, moving to Los Angeles and becoming “Calamity Kate”, a gun-toting, sword-wielding monster slayer. As you do. Desperate to prove her worth, she sets her sights on the seven mythical beasts who are directly responsible for the worldwide monster problem. The only problem is that she’s going to have to do it while staying on her former best friend’s couch, and potentially having to face up to some of the mistakes she has made during her reckless, self-destructive past.
Mags Visaggio and Corin Howell have crafted a fun, entertaining premise all built around an intriguing protagonist. On the surface Kate seems to have it all together, kicking ass and slaying monsters with the support of her passionate, cheering fan base. But it quickly becomes clear that she’s also more than a little messed up, and while she tries her best to gloss over her previous shortcomings with an air of indifferent bravado, there’s definitely a lot more going on beneath the surface than what we’ve seen from her so far.
After only discovering her work for the first time with The Girl In The Bay, Corin Howell is fast becoming an artist who I’m actively seeking out. She puts in another impressive shift here, managing to convey both the character-based moments and the large-scale monster combat with requisite flair, and whether it’s the endearing sweetness of Kate’s friend’s young daughter or the hulking menace of a giant lizard creature, Howell’s lively, energetic style – ably assisted by the bold, vibrant colours of Valentina Pinto – really helps to bring this story to life.
There’s definitely more than a hint of HACK/SLASH at play here, although Kate is far less bawdy and sexualised than Cassie Hawk. The story is packed full of humour and action in equal measure, and while on the surface this feels like the sort of disposable popcorn fare that wold make for a quick, enjoyable read, the strength of Visaggio’s writing and dialogue gives things an intriguing edge, not to mention an element of mystery that draws you deeper and deeper into the story.
A solid opening chapter then, and while the monster slaying and potential showdown with rival hunters is all well and good, it’s Kate herself who I’m ending up wanting to know more about. Visaggio, Howell and Pinto are working together seamlessly here, and if the idea of a sword-wielding, monster-slaying woman kicking some serious ass appeals to you in the slightest, this is definitely the book for you.