Avatar Press strap on a pair of bloody Roman sandals as they traipse
through the rich legacy of the Roman Emperor Caligula.
In David Lapham’s NSFW story Caligula and his fellow Roman nobles
are depraved, vile and sadistic characters. There is no romance here
in the depiction of one of history’s greatest civilizations, only
Issue 1 plays out as a fairly simple revenge book. Told through the
eyes of wronged citizen Junius his family is brutally murdered and
raped while he's away. He loses everything so he decides to embark
on a suicide mission to get revenge against the man who did it,
While the story structure is nothing new it is the world that David
Lapham has created that draws you in. You find yourself turning the
page just to see what disgusting thing will greet you next. One
problem is I didn't quite find myself sympathising with our young
hero, Junius, I was too enamored with Caligula, his cronies and Rome
itself to care. Also in some of the write-ups I’ve read the horror
background of Lapham was really amped up but I didn’t quite feel
that until the last page, which definitely sent some chills down my
At times the dialogue is odd and laughable, like when Caligula
dresses down a whore he has just caught in a bizarre game of sex
hide and go seek, and other times it just doesn’t make sense like
the laugh of Caligula's crony 'hyah hyah hyah' and at another time
‘nyah nyah.’ I mean what the hell is that?
The art is strong with the painted pages capturing Rome beautifully
and the muted tones act as a highlight for the liberal, dark
lashings of blood. The only issue with the art is it concentrates
too much on what's happening close up that many people not too far
off in the distance are faceless blobs. Still the painted style does
a really good job of capturing Rome.
All in all Caligula #1 is something of a guilty pleasure
comic to be read alone so you don't feel bad for enjoying every
tormented moment of it. If you liked the HBO series Rome or
Starz Spartacus then you'll love Caligula.