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‘Cadavers #1: Doppelganger’ - Comic Book Review

The world is being told that "they" are dangerous. This group is feared, and one person is leading this charge to rid humanity of these unworldly beings. These spiritual entities are stuck in this realm and “the media calls them ‘Spectrals.’ To the rest of the world, they are rotting corpses, best left to die.” These different looking creatures must find a means to survive, but everyone else hates them - except those that have a need for mercenary work, or in other cases, a “backstreet dentist.” Even though they file their grievances similarly to others, in a bar having drinks with friends, they understand their place in the world as being alone, and they find solace in identifying themselves as a member of the group, “Cadavers.”

From Mad Robot Comics, co-founder and writer Matt Hardy and founding partner and artist Edward Bentley create Kickstarter-backed Cadavers, where a group of supernatural beings attempt to defend their livelihood against the head of the organization scrutinizing their existence, Marckus North, in the hopes of finding and killing him. During the first issue, there are many news reports informing the viewers of the dangerous calamity always surrounding the Cadavers. It provides an immediate reason to want to confront North, while also making the reader wonder about his intentions. Why does he hate Spectrals, and why does he want them destroyed?

The political motivations to gain power in some form are steeped deeply within this comic book. Hardy represents the Cadavers as a sarcastic, undead-type based off of their interpersonal interactions, perhaps something last seen in Beetlejuice, as they deal with news of possibly being registered on a special watchlist. In addition, their entrance into the country, Altrasania, is seen as something needing to be terminated; second-class citizenship only looks so good for our rogues. The descriptions leading up to this attitude refer to them as “criminal refugees,” “aggressive, opportunistic monsters,” and creating such instability by illegal immigration that will “ruin the country we love.”

Bentley illustrates Cadavers predominantly with darker tones, which coincide with the story’s overarching theme. The five main characters are all different, with appearances and abilities. One transforms into a cat, while another has bare bones until borrowing someone else’s flesh. There’s also the one who can travel through reflections, as his appearance is dependent on who is staring at him. It’s an impressive talent that allows him to move closer to his targets. Identifying him is as simple as noticing the black circles around his eyes, with cracks spreading out from the darkness highlighting his orange-red eyes.

Hardy provides a lot of backstory in the first issue, which helps the reader understand the intent behind both supernatural beings and those wishing to revoke their ability to immigrate and live. It’s an intense look at political dynamics intertwined within a comic book, and the issue reads as a one-shot, despite this being the first in a five-part series. Cadavers #2: Poltergeist is currently in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign, nearly reaching its $2,500 goal already.

Cadavers #1: Doppelganger is currently available for purchase.

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