Review: Tarantula

Growing up, having older family members who were also film buffs, I got exposed to movies that probably only film students get to see, at any age. I remember the first time, I saw Pink Flamingos, I was pretty freaked out. I remember the first time, I saw The Howling, and thought that Australians knew how to make movies better than we do. I also remembered when I watched The Good the Bad and The Ugly, and being blown away not only by Eastwood’s use of visual cues but also by Sergio Leone’s understanding of human nature.

This led me to dig more into European cinema, specifically the ones made by Italian directors, and I found some masterful ones, even the pulpy ones. The movies made by Dario Argento and Mario Bava, were the ones that intrigued me, as they understood their audience and the real meaning of entertainment value. What these two auteurs also brought to the world of film and of entertainment, is a genre all by itself, “Satanic Noir”, a genre that blended exploitation movies with elements of Devil worship. I thought for sure, most of those movies were of a bygone era, that is until I read Tarantula, which brought me back to that period when I discovered those movies.

In this book, we find three agents trying to bring order to a world in the throes of bedlam, as the reader meets a mayor who works for the devil. The first and most prominent of the characters, Tarantula, is investigating a string of deaths involving politicians, and something called Penumbra, where she must seek the help of certain sketchy individuals like Mister Muerte and Sombra. The reader soon finds out, the villain behind all of this, is an underworld figure known simply as Doctor Mandinga. By book’s end, our band of heroes vanquishes this evil, and Tarantula can this case as closed.

Overall, an excellent book full of tropes form this unique genre that you may seem coking but you can’t keep your eyes off of, as the ride is too good. The story by Fabian Rangel, Jr. thrills with its twists and turns as he keeps the story moving at speeds that should be illegal. The art by Alexis Zirritt is of the time it is trying to evoke and proves to be a psychedelic ride. Altogether, a ride that you will want to take a few times over.

Story: Fabian Rangel, Jr. Art: Alexis Zirritt
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy