The pages of 2000AD have long been filled with a variety of strips set in fantastic worlds, encompassing every genre from galaxy-spanning space opera to Celtic barbarians, with everything in between, including future fascist policing and mutant bounty hunters. Caballistics, Inc., however, is very much set in our world, or a semblance of our world at least, only one with some very strange goings on indeed.
Beginning in 2003 and running until 2007, the strip was created by Gordon Rennie and Dom Reardon, whose sketchy, loose art style suits a story which is often at odds with the perception of reality. The eponymous agency are created out of the ashes of Department Q, a government organisation dedicated to solving paranormal threats. Privatised, they are bought by reclusive rock star Ethan Kostabi, who recruits four new agents to serve alongside Dept Q hangovers Jonathan Brand and Jennifer Simmons.
Private consultants Hannah Chapter and Laurence Verse arrive to handle some of the heavy-hitting, backed up by escaped mental patient Mikey Ness and mysterious magician Solomon Ravne, who may have his own agenda alongside carrying out Caballistics business. The six encounter a variety of threats, from within as well as without, and the story is threaded through with Jewish kaballah lore, demonic possession, and supernatural peril.
Rennie’s plots are tight and skip along, but are often stylistically abrupt, and go well with Reardon’s heavy black and white inks, creating an oppressive atmosphere the equal of the scenarios the team face. The standout star of the strip, though, comes from outside the core six, with Inspector Harry Absalom – who is charged with ensuring that the accord between the British government and the denizens of Hell is observed - a thorn in the side of Kostabi’s wider plans. Absalom proved so popular that he eventually received his own strip in 2000AD.
This new edition from Rebellion collects every Caballistics, Inc. strip, including the previously uncollected Ashes and Nativity, which tie up some loose ends for the Caballistics crew. Obviously influenced by Mike Mignola’s work in the same vein, Caballistics. Inc. is a very British take on the supernatural, and comes recommended for those who like their horror with a pinch of action and comedy.
AUTHOR: GORDON RENNIE | ARTIST: DOM REARDON | FORMAT: TRADE PAPERBACK | PUBLISHER: REBELLION | RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 21ST