Action Lab Danger Zone 2018
Written by Erica Schultz
Illustrated by Dave Acosta
Coloured by Andrew Covalt
Lettered by Cardinal Rae
Three issues in one! FBI Special Agent Callum Cooper has always tried to escape his past, but some mistakes…you can’t outrun. Now retired from a fatal diagnosis, an old foe returns to torture Callum in his last days. Unable to go it alone, Callum teams up with college student, Aisha Miller, hitting the road to catch the killer before more women become his victims.
This took me by complete surprise, I mean I love what comes out of Action Lab Danger Zone and have for quite some time now but not even that could have prepared me for this. First three issues in one is always a wow factor and I love and appreciate it’s use here because in all honesty I didn’t want this freaking story to end. With Hulu and Netflix binge watching is the new norm when it comes to television and in comics the closest is a trade paper back and the you’d have to have four or more of them to really make seem equivalent. So the more in an issue I can get from this story I am going to take that and run with it!
I love the story, how it unfolds and even the unfortunate circumstances that not only defined Callum’s youth but his adulthood as well. His reason for retiring, the case that ruined his relationship with probably the only man who could understand him everything here is beautifully done by Erica. I can find not one single fault in the way that this book is structured or the ebb & flow to the release of information. At the beginning, the opening of the book, and where it’s set and what era it’s set in oh with a young Callum and the Reverend oh I knew instantly this wasn’t going to be something good however I didn’t realise how bad it would be either. Erica I love you, as only a gay bestie can, for continuously surprising me at every turn.
The characterisation here is sensational to witness. It isn’t hard to get to know Callum since he is the main focus here. Then as the story weaves it’s way through and we meet more characters and get to know them we find some very interesting dynamics developing. Also I love the way that Erica is able to use the past to fuel the present aspects of the story. Not only with clues and foreshadowing, which by the way won’t help you in trying to figure things out, but with characterisation and the interior artwork to really complete the feeling.
I really really like the interior artwork here, not to play favourites ever since I saw his work on Chastity (and getting him to do a blank cover just for me). I love the way he is able to weave and manipulate the linework so it can be bold and stand out or subtle and misleading. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a stellar eye for storytelling. Personally we all know that I want to see more backgrounds in use, they really do more to expand the story and enhance the moment.
Sixty six pages here and every dang page is well worth the time and effort that was put into making it come to life. The story just has this life of it’s own and Erica’s just the messenger used to tell it, that’s the kind of thing that Marv Wolfman used to talk about when writing his “signature” franchise. The flow, the characters, the meetings that occur and the sheer senseless acts of perverted violence that we see here will never give you a moments rest or a moments peace.
The writing and interior artwork is simply stunning and you will NEVER see any of this coming your way.