The Bloody Cardinal

Richard Sala. Fantagraphics, $16.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-68396-037-9
The deadly Cardinal, seen in Sala’s 2014 short story collection, In a Glass Grotesquely, is back in his own adventure. A masked supercriminal whose murder spree dragged on for years, the Cardinal is now presumed dead—but when four childhood friends become obsessed with his legacy, more deaths soon follow. Much like in his previous work, Sala’s artistic style invokes the gothic eerieness of Edward Gorey and Gahan Wilson, but his use of bright colors imparts a more mainstream flavor. That genre blending carries over into the story itself, as a by-the-numbers pulp murder mystery bleeds into horror and superhero conventions. Drawing on classic tropes is nothing new for Sala, but, unlike his first webcomic, Super-Enigmatix, the plot here feels dry and overdone, and his earnest use of the “ethnic magician” stereotype is dated at best. The nebulous timeline and simple character designs don’t mesh well, either. Sala’s worldbuilding is as strong as ever, but this time he doesn’t have a story to match. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Comics
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