The Caravan is the Bollywood cheese-fest and I mean that in the best way possible. Right from the Ramsey Bros. inspired cover, it embraces what it is wholeheartedly and does not take itself too seriously.
The plot revolves around a bootlegger of Pirated Dvds, Asif Mohammad being arrested by a cop, Jai Singh Rathod who is after bigger fish himself and on their way to the lock up when due to a series of unfortunate events have to take place in a fort(cheesy I had warned you) which is also a makeshift BSF camp run by one, Daroga Bhairo Singh. Asif Mohammad’s entire village had been massacred by a coven of gypsy- vampires, fifteen years ago, who masquerade as a travelling circus and have some very beautiful vampires among them, some wonderful art of the female form here, great job by Bikash Satpathy and Shamik Dasgupta. And as luck would have had it the unholy Caravan happens to stop by the fort, on that very day.
I really enjoyed verbal trade off between the two male leads, Jai and Asif. Very funny, spontaneous exchanges. Asif is a connoisseur of movies and not just a pirate and has some very funny references that spit out from his motor mouth. This book is quite violent and does not shy away from gore. However, I felt that Shamik was holding back a bit and a book such as this should have pushed the boundaries a bit more in terms of profanity and a bit more adult content rather than just tease, it would certainly look and feel more natural and something that hadn’t been done. Also the dialogues sometime feel quite cliched, granted that it is a campy story, but it would certainly have had a distinct voice then and steer away from the norm. The main villain is one-dimensional, it’s high time Indian comic makers look into that aspect, I’m hoping the prequels add a bit more depth into the characters rather than them just being blood thirsty beings.
The art as mentioned earlier is consistent and some very great panels here. The inking looks a bit overdone but Vishwanath Manokaran’s superb coloring balances it out. It does seem unreasonable to ask, but I’m hoping that a special edition of this book is released that is printed on cheap/raggedy paper which is what would perfectly compliment the pulp/Raj Comics feel that this book tries to achieve.
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