Vampires, gangsters, and aliens! Oh, My! Turf #2 arrived from Image Comics last week, and I purposefully held off reading it, as I wanted it to be the cap to my comic reading week.
Previously in Turf: There’s a new gang in town and they want to take over New York City in a big way. While most of the gangs have the cops and elected officials in their pockets, the new gang have something more powerful – they’re vampires. The blood drinking, light fearing, hypnosis powered, flight taking, accent talking vampires most of us grew up with watching reruns of classic horror movies on late night television. With the power struggle heating up, throwing in a crashed alien space craft is only going to make the story that much more interesting.
When you’re going to torture a vampire, there are many ways to do it – holy water, sunlight, and garlic are but a few. It’s probably not a good idea to try and torture a vampire by cutting out an eye or slicing off fingers as that is only going to make the vampire more angry, and when his friends show up, the S is really going to hit the fan. That’s exactly what mob leader Falco discovers when he’s overrun by the undead seeking to get back their comrade and take down the gang members at the same time. It’s bloody and violent as the action spills across the pages as one by one the mob members are taken down, but not without taking a few vampires with them. While the dialogue seems a bit on the cheesy side, even when the elder vampires show up at the clan HQ, it works considering the time period and the crazy-ass action that Ross is serving up.
Witnessing all the action is Susie Randall, who talks her photographer into getting a peek at the action in exchange for a pay raise and a by-line in the paper. In my previous review, I thought that Randall would be one of the few redeeming characters in the series, but her constant badgering eventually gets the photographer killed, showing that she’s only in it for herself. While she doesn’t get caught in the vampire/mob crossfire, she does get kidnapped by one of the vampire leaders, and I’m sure we’ll discover her fate next issue.
While the vampire/gang fight is interesting to read, it’s the alien that Falco encounters that is really different. With an obvious language barrier it is difficult to know the alien wants to eat humans, or simply merge with them in order to understand us better. The alien twist is one that has a really slow build, but from the preview for next issue it does look like Falco and the alien team in some unlikely way.
Ross does a really good job at bringing these characters to life, even if we don’t know who all the names. The structure and pacing are easy to follow and makes this issue a joy to read.
Tommy Lee Edwards does a bang up job on the art in this issue. Character renderings in close ups are really good, and facial expressions are superb. Edwards has no problem showing off the blood and the violence, especially when it comes to blowing holes in vampires.
On the down side, Edwards style can become confusing on the wide and groups shots. The heavy ink and contrast mixed with the dark colors muddies faces to the point where it becomes difficult to differentiate between characters. This is especially true when the elder vampires arrive at the estate, as the inks end up confusing the reader between the servants and the leaders. It’s a minor problem, as the dialogue is delivered only by the key players.
BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT
Turf #2 is bizarre. It’s weird. It’s not quite like anything I’ve read before, and I got a kick out of every minute of it. Taking the gangers, vampire, and alien genres and smashing them together could easily be a disaster, but Ross and Edwards have pulled it off in an interesting story that is well worth buying. There are still questions where everything will end up, but I’m in for the full ride, giving the issue 4.5 out of 5 Stars.