Friday, October 7, 2011

Caligula #4

Written by David Lapham
Art by German Nobile

From the beginning, this has been a strange and depraved book, but I feel, with this issue, like it's beginning to lose its way.  The first three issues of Caligula has followed young Junius (called Felix by Caligula) on his quest to extract revenge on the mad emperor for the vicious rape and death of his family.  What made the book especially interesting were the supernatural elements that David Lapham has given to Caligula, and the way in which Junius struggled to maintain his sense of purpose around so much madness.

Following last issue's attack, Caligula has remained on his gigantic palace-boat, where he feels safe (despite being apparently invulnerable and therefore safe everywhere he goes).  Most of this chapter is taking up with an elaborate 'murder mystery' Caligula has concocted for a small group of senators and other notables he's invited to his boat.  Each person is required to play a different role, with most of them centred around infidelity and jealousy.  Even Junius is expected to play a role, which puts him in a position of revealing his duplicity.

The problem with all these scenes is that none of the new characters are developed enough to care about.  It's difficult (especially with Nobile's art) to remember who any of them are, and who is supposed to be married to whom.  The anonymity of the actors in this farce rob it of any emotional weight.  Junius/Felix takes some action at the end, which is interesting in terms of his character, but I think I would have preferred to learn more about his plot with the honest Centurion Laurentius, which is given very little space here.

No comments: