Limbo by Dan Watters (Book Review)

LimboLimbo by Dan Watters

My rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
What this book is about:

Clay is a private investigator in Dedande city; a man with no memory of where he comes from and how he happens to be there. He was saved by a voodoo queen, Sandy, a girl who dances to Kool & The Gang to summon voodoo deities. Nine months later he finds himself into a bar where he receives a strange phone call. This might be the clue that he needs to start exploring into his past. When a woman comes to his house later that night asking for his help in exposing the drug king of Dedande, Clay finds himself lost in a digital world of neon lights and 80’s tunes.


In this volume of Limbo we have 6 issues that, as far as I understand, constitute a stand-alone graphic novel. It is a rare occasion in which the art on the cover matches perfectly the art of the story. Thus the cover of this comic is the perfect sampler for the art style of what you are about to read. Overall, this was not my cup of tea for various reasons that I will discuss below.

limbo01_cvr-600x900The one thing that I definitely enjoyed was the art style.
The colours were vibrant at times and darker at others. The palette of the artist was very rich and the artistic ideas were very creative. There are many, many, many references to the punk retro style with flowery skulls, neon colours, pixellated video games and music videos with simple trigonometric designs, squares, triangles etc. of the old MTV style. Each page was filled with illustrations and colours that perfectly fit and expressed the mood of the story. This graphic novel was overall pleasing to look at.

However, the plot was very weak, extremely chaotic and generally all over the place.
We are initially introduced to our main character in a bar, a setting we are all pretty much familiar with. Then we slowly get to know the rest of the characters and our protagonist Clay gets into trouble. Clay is literally sucked into the television which leads to a parallel reality of monsters that want to kill him. But my brief description of the story is way more interesting than the actual plot itself. I was very confused from the beginning and while in the end we do get an explanation of what and why everything is happening, I did not care. The characters were not relatable and, to put it very simply, I really didn’t care about them. Moreover, every time Clay or Sandy got into trouble things seem to resolve with the help of a deus ex machina. Very anticlimactic. Why would an amnesic dude be a private investigator to begin with? A story that failed to captivate me as a reader throughout but succeeded in annoying me as nothing made any sense.

oct150519We have a plot that combines retro elements with paranormal creatures who dance around to intimidate the main character.
And it actually works (the dance I mean). I think that in order to use music in a medium that does not offer the option of sound is a risky move. The execution here was very weak. Music was a prominent feature in the plot but I, the reader of this graphic novel, cannot listen to it. So I don’t care. The paranormal and the retro were married in a not very successful union. Sometimes they fit well, as in skulls and colourful flowers, but most of the times pararetro did not work well. The world building is definitely helped by the visual aid and the rich illustrations and art style but overall the world was overwhelming and confusing. Finally, the humour of the characters just didn’t do it for me. Clay was not that funny; definitely poor humour lacking some witty lines.

I am quite dissatisfied with this graphic novel. The story started from confusing, to not interesting and ended in dull. I was not amused throughout the novel and halfway through I felt a strong urge to quit it. I do have to give half a star though for the beautiful art style. The illustrations and the vibrant, bright colour palette held great potential. I would cautiously suggest to people who love the retro style and the VHS era to check Limbo out. Overall, I was disappointed.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Professional Reader
I’m a BookDepository affiliate. If you want to buy a book online (free worldwide shipping) and you go through my links (below) I’ll get a small referral commission. Thank you very much for your support!:)
BookDepository: Limbo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s