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Updated: Jun 24, 2021

Writer: Dino Caruso Art: Shawn Richison Publisher: Caliber Comics

Fisk The S.U.B.S.T.I.T.U.T.E., Vol. 1 (tpb) cover, Self-published, Caruso/Richison


An over-the-top, self-aware, school-themed spy comic.

Think Men In Black meets Last Action Hero!


(Minor Spoilers)

Agent Fisk is a S.U.B.S.T.I.T.U.T.E. You can find out what that translates to in the panel below, but what it essentially means is he gets brought into schools where weird, supernatural or otherwise dangerous things are happening.

As Fisk himself puts it, he "Gets called in to make big problems go away."

The book opens with a preliminary prequel chapter, explaining who Fisk is and what his job entails. It shows us what an average job for him looks like, especially when it goes right.

We're soon introduced to his new partner, who seems like a smart protege that he'll be training. We're also introduced to the mysterious briefcase Fisk carries, but never opens. He's saving it for a rainy day, he explains, and that's all we know. But for folks who've seen a movie or two, it's pretty obvious that this is both a MacGuffin and a Chekhov's Gun.

Shortly thereafter, a strange man jumps through a portal and steals the briefcase. And that's when the real trouble (and the fun) begins.


  • Caruso's writing takes "cheesy" and makes it work for an action-packed story with all the best comic book trappings, like spies, dimensional travel and a major showdown in the 3rd act

  • Richison's been doing this awhile and, with him on line art and letters, we get a great balance between the two

  • Full color, which is uncommon for an indie comic!

  • Just a fun, low-stakes comic for all ages

  • Fitting, fun and seemingly hand-drawn sound effects

  • Really great backmatter, including annotations, sketches, interviews and more

  • Wide open for more stories in the universe!


  • If you're looking for a comic with a lot of depth, you may want to look elsewhere

  • For example, we don't really see what Fisk is motivated by or what he lives for, outside of just doing his job

  • That being said, this one's action-packed and fun as heck

  • Roughly half the book is prequel/backstory, which does a lot of set-up for the present-day stuff but kind of interrupts the forward progress a bit

  • All the events are pretty predictable, which is another reason it might be best suited for a younger audience or people just looking for a fun read

Fisk The S.U.B.S.T.I.T.U.T.E., Vol. 1 (tpb), page 17, Self-published, Caruso/Richison


It's good, over-the-top fun for all ages, and it's got a lot of great sci-fi and action elements. Students and staff alike will get an extra kick out of this one. Sit back and enjoy!


If you like the writing:

  • Blue Hour by Dino Caruso & Chad Cicconi

  • Powers, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming

  • The Family Graves by Timothy Bach & Brian Atkins

If you like the art:


Dino Caruso – Writer

  • Outlander: Lives in Canada

  • Recently worked on a story for the Local Haunts anthology, which also includes work by many other creators whose work I've covered here

  • Dream Team: Often works with Shawn Richison

Shawn Richison – Artist & Letterer

  • Multitalented: You don't often see an artist who also letters comics, but he does just about everything when it comes to comics -- even writing some!

  • Outlander: Hails from Ontario

  • Test of Time: Has been working on comics professionally for 15 years

Dijjo – Colorist

  • Moniker: His real name is Diego Lima, and he sometimes goes by "Dijjo Lima"

  • Outlander: Is from Brazil

  • His style is moody, dynamic and untraditional

Juan Romera – Illustrator

  • Outlander: Hails from Argentina

  • Was into comics before even learning how to read

  • Multitalented: Works as a penciller, inker and a colorist


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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Caliber Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Caliber Comics or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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