If the title of this book sounds like something out of a pulp novel, then Mario Acevedo is doing his job as supernatural meets noir in a tale set against the heroin trade, as Felix Gomez, the vampire detective, takes on the Han Cobras.
Previously in the world of Felix Gomez: Felix Gomez went to Iraq a soldier. He came back a vampire.
VAMPIRE WHAT NOW?
If you haven’t heard of the Felix Gomez novels, then you’re not alone, yet author Mario Acevedo has written five tales of the vampire detective that have landed some high praise and reviews from various websites and book resellers. After reading a little bit about the character, it’s a wonder he hasn’t made it to comics sooner; toss in a helping of sexual titillation, space aliens, werewolves, zombies, and of course a secret vampire organization called Araneum, and you have the makings of a fantastic comic book series.
This series finds Felix Gomez in Hong Kong working with the U.S. government to rescue a lost D.E.A. agent and in the process try to stop the Han Cobras from bringing a huge shipment of heroin into the country. While he’s not able to save the agent’s life, he does stir up enough trouble with the Cobras that a contract is put on his head – little do they know of his undead nature…
The bulk of this issue is spent giving readers some backstory on how Felix became a vampire during his time in Iraq. It’s a different take on vampire lore, and one that doesn’t make a great deal of sense for me at this time. While Felix appears to have all the powers of a vampire, he walks around in broad daylight with nary a smoking bit of flesh on his body. Either there is some aspect of vampire lore I’m not aware of, or Felix holds stock in a sunscreen company that specializes in SPF 500.
Honestly though, I can overlook the daylight vampire issue, as many authors these days seem to be tweaking the legend to fit their particular character. Whedon did it with Angel, and Acevedo borrows another idea from the Angel-verse with the notion that Gomez refuses to drink blood. It all stems from a traumatic situation that occurred during his stint in iraq, so instead he satiates his bloodlust by drinking animal blood.
What does make this tale interesting is he writing style Acevedo employs to tell the tale. Most of this first issue is told through the inner-monologue of Felix, and it’s told in a very noir style readers associate with detective tales. Acevedo cuts out the colorful metaphors, and gets to the heart of the story, not wasting any words, or pages bogging the reader down. While a lot of the issue is back story on the character, it is needed here, as many readers will probably be unfamiliar with the character.
Felix Gomez isn’t a mopey character, nor is he a horrible monster bent on killing and destroying everything in his path; war changes a person, and while Gomez is now a card carrying member of the undead, Acevedo turns him into a sympathetic character that is tough as nails, but still cares for those around him. Based on the writing in this issue, I get the impression that we’re reading a whole new genre of storytelling – VampNoir, and I like it.
THE DARK ARTS
I’ve grown accustomed to seeing a wide variety of art as I read through books published by those not in the top two spots on the Diamond Comic Distributors list. I’ve seem some very bad art, and I’ve seen some art that makes me want to buy every single page of the artists originals. Alberto Dose’s style falls somewhere in the middle. It isn’t bad – not by a long shot – instead it gives off a Kelly Jones vibe with the extreme hard shadows used in every panel. It’s a cool effect, but where it stumbles is in the brightly colored backgrounds that collapse all sense of depth in many of the panels, and seems like a quick out for someone who doesn’t want to spend the time doing background work. It’s a shame really as the backgrounds we do get in the book are filled with detail and life.
BOTTOM LINE – BUY IT
Vampire lovers should have this book in their hands already, but if you don’t, and you like tales of the hero vampire, then this book is worth checking out. The writing is solid, the central character is well developed inside the first 22 pages, and the story of the mob against a vampire is sure to bring some very interesting moments as the series progresses. I have a few minor issues with the art, and some of the powers Felix Gomez displays need a better explanation, but I’m willing to put that aside and give this issue 4.5 out of 5 Stars.