Kadiliman in their silent shadow carnival (hontiveros / tadeo) [alamat]

This one-shot was initially released in 2007, which means this was part of the Bahay ng Alumni era of Komikon, before the current scene exploded into what it is now, when Trese was a whispered legend among Komikon loyalists, when Alamat was a major komik force (it still is, but now there are many other players…a good thing).

The one-shot is kinda like a one-shot Watchmen, but with the distinct local take. The local Justice Corps has fallen into hard times after an event that changed everything for all of them, including their resident bad guy Doctor Kadiliman. Now many years have past, and Doctor Kadiliman is just your ordinary grandfather, taking care of a devoted granddaughter, having put the past behind him for a quiet life. And wouldn’t you know it…the villain might actually have the best ending of all the super-entities in his life.

It’s beautiful, poignant, and tragic in its simple way, definitely moved along by an awesome script by David Hontiveros, heightened by all the incredible detailed art and paneling from the master Ed Tadeo. It’s an unimposing observation of life in general, how celebrity and power can change people, many times for the worse. It’s a reiteration of the principle that your past does not define your present and future, that every day builds on itself by the choices you make in life. If that choice is to live simply but honorably, it’s still a worthy choice that even a former villain can make.

It’s also much appreciated that this grandfather is presented for the human that he is, with the capacity for love and concern, who made choices in his youth because he felt they were needed, not for any evil intentions. A man, with a capacity for forgiveness, of understanding that life goes on, with or without you.

Most incredible, furthermore, is how you are quickly immersed into this superhero world in just one comic piece, through the combination of judicious scripting and awesome art, without having to go through a lot of world-building explanation. You quickly get a feel of all the many characters that pass through the work, immediately knowing their core personalities, understanding the sad or miserable life tangents many of them took afterward. Yet this is still all about one character, and the work never loses sight of that core point-of-view.

Since it’s a rather old release, try finding it where you can find Ed Tadeo, because I’m not sure if the Alamat booth will still have it (what with Trese, Skyworld, and Kadasig releases out). But definitely this is worth the purchase for the insight into growing older and wiser.

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