Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Necromancer and Of Bitter Souls - Early Reviews!

Since I had the opportunity to pick these comics up at the Chicago comic convention, I thought it was a prime opportunity to give fair warning to any readers thinking about picking these titles up what to expect.

"Of Bitter Souls #1" is published by Speakeasy, written by Chuck Satterlee and drawn by Norm Breyfogle. It's a story of superheroes who hunt monsters. In the first issue, we're introduced to four individuals as they save a crowd from a band of vampires. The art is decent here: nothing too extraordinary, boring character designs. Pretty mediocre in that regard. The writing follows suit, as the story shares nothing interesting. It's a basic introduction story, and a bland one at that, as the superheroes fight the dullest portrayals of vampires I've read in recent years, amid a series of flashbacks that shows each superhero three years prior. Each of the superheroes had a sketchy past, involved in illegal activities, and are surely chosen by the mysterious individual for their task as a way to redeem themselves or some such nonsense.

"Necromancer #1" is written by Joshua Ortega with art by Francis Manapul, published by Top Cow. The title started out wrong, with three variant covers, one by the atrocious Greg Horn (of which I DID NOT pick up). I wasn't expecting much going into this one, as Top Cow isn't exactly the most artistic, creative publisher, but I was actually surprised by what I found here. First off, the art is pretty bad. Michael Turner bad, if that's a negative for you. Unfortunately, I couldn't just right the series off with the art, and therein lies the dilemma. The story is positively compelling. We follow a cheerleader, Abby Van Alstine, who grows up in a very traditional household, with a father who happens to be a pastor and disapproves of his daughter's recent behavior. It's really fascinating watching the interaction between Abby and her family as she cares nothing for the Catholic faith, while her father is strict in pushing her into said faith, despite protests. Ultimately, she does love her father, and tricks her parents into believing her intentions coincide with theirs, as she holds a Bible study at their house, that is really an exploration of the dark arts. The story unfolds pretty rapidly, but it does an excellent job of conveying a complex, interesting character, ultimately led down a dark path, rather driven there by her parents unrelenting demands upon her. This issue boasts a great ending. Give it a chance if you can tolerate the art. You won't regret it!

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