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Comic Book / Caballistics, Inc.

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Caballistics, Inc. is a comic featured in 2000 AD.

The British government sells off a nearly defunct department originally tasked to fight off Nazi occultism during World War II to a mysterious entrepeneur. He reforms the organization into Caballistics, Inc., a private agency to fight off supernatural threats.

Followed by a Spin-Off series, Absalom.

This comic provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Dr. Brand is rarely seen without a bottle after he discovers Jenny is possessed by a demon.
  • Asshole Victim: Demon Jenny hits the bars a few times in search of fresh victims, one of whom was apparently a serial rapist and another one a child molester. Justified because she mentions that she feeds on human sin.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Invoked. Lawrence Verse and Hannah Chapter answer the two questions they're asked most often, one of which is whether those are really their names.note  They're not, but a gimmick like that draws in more clients for their monster hunting business.
  • Badass Preacher: Lawrence Verse is an ex-Catholic priest who was forced to give up his vocation after an incident involving, as another character put it, "the novel use of a chainsaw during the Rite of Exorcism."
  • Big Bad: Ethan Kostabi (heavily implied to be a Humanoid Abomination called Nyarlathotep)and his dragon, Micky Ness.
  • Blood Bath: Readers first meet Solomon Ravne in the middle of one such bath, surrounded by the naked, bleeding corpses the blood had to have come from. Because Ravne is suggested to be Really 700 Years Old, it may be that such a bath is needed to maintain his age and appearance or prolong his life.
  • Born-Again Immortality: Ravne and Jenny's baby was possibly conceived so that Ethan Kostabi could be reborn in a new host body.
  • Creative Sterility: Ethan Kostabi created Solomon Ravne and his (mentioned but unseen) "siblings" as an experiment to create new life. Because he is a Fallen Angel and not God however, he couldn't give his children a soul as he doesn't have one of his own nor does he know how to create one.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entire comic is in black and white, which adds a lot to the creepy atmosphere.
  • Demonic Possession: Jenny is possessed by a demon early on, who manages to keep this a secret for an extended length of time. Eventually the rest of the team catches on when Jenny keeps somehow destroying equally dangerous supernatural entities all by her lonesome when they're not looking. However, the possibility of an exorcism is rendered moot by the demon threatening to kill Jenny if they so much as try it.
  • Distant Finale: Gordon Rennie eventually wrote a final one shot story detailing what had happened to the characters a full decade after the events that destroyed Ethan Kostabi. Hannah visits Lawrence in the hospital while he is still in a coma and is suffering from a bad limp herself. Meanwhile, Ravne and Jenny are still together and are raising a child. Apparently, Rennie lost interest in the story after the two tie in novels were published without his input and he concentrated on its Spin-Off, Absalom instead.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dr. Brand abruptly meets his end when Ness pushes him in front of a train.
  • Emotion Eater: At one point Hannah Chapter and Lawrence Verse go hunting for a psychic vampire who feeds on the loneliness and despair of its victims. It was also a shapeshifter, as it assumed the form of a deceased girlfriend of Hannah.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Hannah and Lawrence are introduced being in the middle of a gunfight against a horde of zombies.
    • Ravne is introduced having slaughtered several people to bathe in their blood.
  • The Faceless: One of Michael Magister's former comrades in Department Q during World War II apparently lost his face in "some occult beastliness in the Somme" and wears a mask, leather helmet, and flying goggles to cover it up.
  • Fallen Angel: Ethan Kostabi, the Chessmaster of the series, is in fact an angel who fell down to Earth several thousand years ago and has since been living under different human identities.
  • Fantastic Noir: Whereas Caballistics is more straight Urban Fantasy horror.
  • Former Regime Personnel: Solomon Ravne was a member of Sonderkommando Thule during World War II. He still carries his old Luger as his weapon.
  • Ghostapo: The strip makes mention of Nazi Germany's occult warfare division, Sonderkommando Thule, very frequently. When the titular Caballistics, Inc. was still functioning as a secret department in the British Government at its peak during World War II, as Q Department, Sonderkommando Thule was their biggest enemy. Solomon Ravne is revealed to have been a former member.
  • Golem: An Israeli occult division creates a Golem to kill the immortal Nazi Solomon Ravne, aka "Der Teuffel", for his crimes in the Holocaust. However, the Golem is stopped by Demon-Jenny for her own reasons.
  • Gorn: Several characters meet rather messy ends throughout the strip.
  • Guns Akimbo:
    • Hannah is fond of a pair of 9mm pistols.
    • Lord Rothchester, one of the World War II era Department Q members, is also fond of both dual pistols and dual submachineguns, depending on the situation.
  • The Ketchup Test: During the mission at the Luddgate studio, Hannah tastes some of the blood the team finds all over the floor. It's not real, being merely Kensington Gore, but the substance itself is dripping down from mid-air.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: The demon possessing Miss Simmons is visible in a reflection.
  • Nazi Protagonist: Solomon Ravne is one of the main characters, and an ex-Nazi Mad Scientist. He's even older than that, though...
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ethan Kostabi, the reclusive multi-millionaire pop star of the 1970s who brings the titular organization together, is based to several extents on David Bowie.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • All that is known about the circumstances surrounding Lawrence Verse being forced to leave the Catholic priesthood is that he used a chainsaw while performing the Rite of Exorcism. The complete details are never made clear to the reader, although it's later suggested to have involved, at least in part, a zombie attack on the island of Martinique in 1995.
    • When an Immortal Assassin goes after Ravne and Jenny's baby, he comments that he hasn't encountered a homunculus like Ravne since "that queer business in Botswana" before throwing Ravne out of a window.
  • Occult Detective: The main characters. Cabbalistics, Inc. was formed when Department Q, a Ministry of Defense department originally created in the 1940s to combat Nazi occult warfare, is privatised by the British government.
  • The Older Immortal: Solomon Ravne is several hundred years old, having extended his life through Blood Baths and other dark magic. However, his "father", Ethan Kostabi, is revealed at the end of the series to be a Fallen Angel created at the dawn of time who has been walking the Earth for at least two thousand years.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: During World War II the Nazis were running a program to assassinate Allied political and military leaders and replace them with homonculi. They were given this knowledge by Solomon Ravne, who is revealed to be one himself.
  • Plant Person: During a mission Hannah is captured by a female earth spirit who is rooted in a tree's vines underground. Naturally, she thinks humanity should be wiped out.
  • Plato Is a Moron: The Chessmaster in the strip is one Ethan Kostabi, an eccentric former rock star from the 1970s strongly resembling David Bowie. Whenever Kostabi's success as a musician is described, comparisons are always made to Bowie, and Bowie is always described as having been greatly inferior—having sold fewer albums and having "scavenged a career out of the discarded fads and influences that Ethan left in his wake".
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: Hannah fights monsters and demons on a daily basis. She also happens to be a big fan of horror movies, which comes in pretty handy when the team is trapped inside a horror film dimension by an evil director. Also the author of the unpublished book Mixed-Up Flicks For Mixed-Up Chicks.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Solomon Ravne is suggested to be around 300 years old and must keep up his more youthful appearance through ritualistic Blood Baths and other forms of The Dark Arts.
    • Ethan Kostabi is in fact a 2000 year old angel who fell to Earth.
  • Red Baron: Solomon Ravne, an immortal former Nazi, became known as "Der Teufel" (The Devil) to his victims during the Holocaust.
  • Red Shirt: During the group's first mission to stop a zombie incursion in the London Underground, they're accompanied by a group of special forces who are clearly there to serve as cannon fodder.
  • Revenant Zombie: In the epilogue, Ravne and Jenny are attacked by a powerful zombie of a British colonial soldier who has been ordered to kill their baby. He ragdolls both of them (a homunculus and demon, respectively), only being stopped by a kill-virtually-anything dagger stored in the mansion just in case.
  • The Soulless: Solomon Ravne doesn't possess a soul, as he's not human but a homunculi created by a Fallen Angel. This makes it possible for him to sneak up on Michael Magister, whose psychic sensors only work on beings with souls.
  • Staking the Loved One: Hannah Chapter reveals to a psychic vampire that before becoming an Occult Detective she was once involved with a woman who turned into a zombie, forcing Hannah to blow her head off. She turns off her com so that Lawrence (her closest friend) can't hear this.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Crossing over into Ghostapo, the Nazis had a cloning programme during the war, where they were creating homonculi that they were intending to use to replace Allied leaders to subvert the war effort. Magister notes that while the lab was destroyed, that he suspects the Allies took over the research themselves so they could have a more controllable version of Churchill.
  • Taught by Television: Invoked. When Miss Simmons asks if Lawrence Verse and Hannah Chapter have much experience in dealing with paranormal situations, Hannah snarks that they just play a lot of videogames.
  • Team Killer: Michael Magister is a former member of Department Q during World War II who happened to be a Psycho for Hire. Unfortunately, his team members figured that out too late, and he ended up killing most of them before being locked up.
  • Token Evil Teammate:
    • Two of them. Solomon Ravne is an immortal sorcerer who is also a former Nazi, while Jenny is possessed by a demon who initially keeps herself hidden from the others.
    • Michael Magister was this for the original Department Q, being the most sadistic one of them all who Mind Rapes a captive German spy during an interrogation For the Evulz. He notes that he hated all of his comrades, barring maybe the resident Torture Technician Rabid Cop who was a former Black And Tan.
  • Trapped in TV Land: When the team investigates a haunting at the derelict Luddgate film studio, they find themselves trapped inside various horror movies produced by the studio after a failed demonic extraction of Jenny. Turns out that the studio head was an occultist who built his own dimension to both play out his own fantasies and to trap people in an illusion so he could suck out their lifeforce to sustain himself.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: Subverted. Before Ravne offers Miss Simmons as part of a demonic sacrifice, he asks her if she's a virgin. When she says she isn't, Ravne explains how she best suits his purposes because innocent virgins don't actually make the best sacrificial offerings to Hell.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Michael Ness is a former SAS commando who was locked up in a mental institution and is quite the Torture Technician. Supposedly, he has an interrogation technique which involves half a dozen shards of metal and a cigarette lighter.
  • Weird Historical War: Michael Magister recalls an event during World War II where the original Department Q took down a Sonderkommando Thule homunculus project, which Solomon Ravne was involved in. Magister also notes that one of his colleagues lost his face in an occult incident during The Somme.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. It's unclear in the ending if Hannah Chapter and Lawrence Verse survive the final battle against Ethan Kostabi, but a 2018 epilogue reveals that Hannah survived with a severe limp and Lawrence is in a permanent coma.