COMIC REVIEW: The Reaper Legacy (Caliber Comics)

With its success in the ‘90’s sponsoring such budding talent as Guy Davis, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker and more, former power-house Caliber Comics has recently been resurrected by publisher and founder Gary Reed.

The reboot brings with it a host of titles previously published by the company now being offered once again, now both in print and online.

One of these re-released titles is the 90-page graphic novel Ripper Legacy by Jim Alexander and artist Mark Bloodworth. It is a compilation of the earlier 3-issue mini-series put out by Reed’s Transfuzion Publishing back in 2008.

Ripper Legacy is a wobbly tale told with a decidedly British toned sensibility thanks to writer Jim Alexander. The story follows a group of modern day paranormal investigators called Raven Inc. investigating a string of recent killings whose culprit they begin to suspect may be none other than the one and only infamous Jack the Ripper.

The dialogue for the story is economical and well-written with little in the way of extraneous verbiage. Alexander, whose previous work includes DC titles Birds of Prey, Batman and Marvels Uncanny Origins and Captain Britain, excels at quick, engaging panels with characters that seem fully aware of the moment.

The plot for the story however leaves room for improvement. Jittery and jumpy between scenes, era’s and time-lines the surface deep personalities that populate the novel are never explored other than as spokes in the overarching wheel of the novel.

As for the message itself it is one of a heavy dose of Christian contemplation on the nature of evil with interesting blurbs and askance into the perpetually of the soul, à la Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence, albeit from a decidedly less than affirming position.

What gives the graphic novel a heart beyond its plot is the authors’ clear adoration of its malefic villains, notably the historical progeny of Jack the Ripper whom Alexander describes with almost loving prose: “The serial killers of this century are not localized events. They are ripples and the preludes. Originating from and, at the same time, leading to… the stuff of legacy.”

Legacy Page

Bloodworth’s art, which like the story is a bumpy ride, is either a hit or miss depending on whether you are a fan of the modern renditions of the Eerie and Creepy horror lineage it is descended from. It moves the graphic along with little fanfare but the occasional austere moment such as when the worlds oldest man’s eyes flicker upon the world’s oldest soul.

Bloodworth’s previous achievements includes work at Marvel, Arrow and other Caliber titles. He  has been with Caliber since the company’s start.

Overall Ripper Legacy is a decent tale whose dialogue carries your briskly forward and with artwork that doesn’t stop you along the way. Alexander has a gift for dialogue that brings you into a strange and morbid world that spans generations, but leaves room to be fleshed out further. You can pick it up online at Drivethru or in paperback at sites like Amazon.com.

Rating: 3/5
GS Blogger: Jesse B

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