Ever felt like you need a fresh start in life? Maybe a new career or a change of scenery? The titular character in Calamity Kate #1, the new limited series from Dark Horse, finds herself experiencing that very feeling. So, like any rational person, she grabs a katana and hits the road to hunt monsters across the country.
Kate ditches her old life and heads for the West Coast, aiming to become the world’s best monster hunter in this new title from creators Magdalene Visaggio and Corin Howell.
Of course, there’s some suspension of disbelief behind the worldbuilding here. The creators envision an alternate version of our world, one that developed in the exact same way…save for the giant monsters that attack civilization more or less constantly. You can easily look beyond that, though, as we find a lot to enjoy in this new book.
The storytelling in Calamity Kate #1 is tight and engaging, with a fun tone throughout. Visaggio keeps the storytelling focused on the action. However, she plants the seeds of conflicts to develop further in the series. There’s the fraught relationship between Kate and her friend, Vera, whose house serves as Kate’s home base and butcher shop. And then, of course, there’s the past life and relationship that Kate is trying to escape.
Kate is an enjoyable lead character, despite her destructive tendencies. It’s common in a lot of fiction to take a character and try to rationalize or write-off that person’s flaws as fun quirks; idiosyncrasies that make a person interesting, rather than inconsiderate or toxic. Fortunately, Visaggio mostly avoids that in Calamity Kate #1. Instead, you look forward to seeing the character grow and develop over the next few issues.
Corin Howell’s artwork is fun and full of energy. The artist fills each panel with a vibrant, kinetic sense. However, she employs visual motifs in numerous places, using panels that mirror or echo one another to make everything feel very cohesive.
It’s in the slower moments of Calamity Kate #1, though, where Howell’s talent for conveying emotion through expression really shines. A slight shift in a character’s eyes or their brow accentuates emotional pitch.
Colorist Valentina Pinto employs a wide palette that compliments the artwork well. Colors are bright and vibrant, but can shift quickly to match the tone of each panel.
Calamity Kate #1 is a monster hunter’s delight. Definitely worth checking out.