After enjoying a brief victory from the events of volume twelve of Vampire Huntress, the Warriors of Light are thrown back into the mix when a small group of travelers are found butchered.
L. A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress #1
Written by L. A. Banks and Jess Ruffner
Pencils by Brett Booth
Colors by Stephen Downer
Letters by Bill Tortolini
Cover by Brett Booth
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Previously in L. A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress: This is the first time I’ve heard of this title. Thankfully for all of us new readers out there, they include a brief history of the series on the back of the front cover. Born every thousand years is a human with the power of light called the Neterus (or Huntress). This is the story of a Neterus named Damali Richards who, with the help of the rest of the Guardians of Light, just recently defeated Lucifer, killed Lilith, destroyed the Vampire Council, and wounded the Anti-Christ. With their recent win over the powers of darkness, the Guardians find themselves with precious down time as their forces rest up and deal with the many pregnancies at home. Naturally, no calm can ever last as the forces of evil stir up new trouble.
THE HONEYMOON IS OVER
Our story opens with Damali and Carlos enjoying some quality time in bed professing their love to each other when Jose bangs on the door with bad news. A mass murder has been discovered in Baltimore where a group of twelve to fifteen people were found butchered seemingly by their own doing. Getting dressed, Carlos and Damali ran down to the communications room with Jose to meet with the rest of the team and assess the situation. A group of peaceful travelers were using a stadium as temporary shelter as they were passing through the area. Suddenly and for no reason, they turned violent and killed the children then turned on each other. While the team bickered as to who should join the search party, Jose gets Red Dog, the Baltimore squad leader, online to discuss the situation. After being properly debriefed, Damali ends the discussion as to who is needed for the team and sets out for Baltimore.
Arriving at the stadium, the team meets up with Red Dog and goes in to let their Seers see if they can detect anything with their third eye. Going into the heart of the carnage, Val, their other Seer, and Damali were caught off guard when they catch a glimpse of a dead child. With Val backing out, it’s up to Damali to determine what happened. As she goes into her vision, she finds that she needs to delve deeper than expected to see the truth. She ends up going so deep that she finds herself interacting with the events that took place as something has a firm grip of her and doesn’t let her break the vision. Suddenly, D finds herself filled with rage towards Carlos for killing the children. Realizing that a demon is filling her with false feelings, Damali is able to finally snap out of the trance and explain what she saw. The only real lead they get comes when Val picks up a piece of Hell Stone and discovers the name of a local warlock named Caspian. Arriving at the warlocks’ lair, the team prepares a fast assault before the sun goes down.
FAMILIAR YET DISTINCT
I really enjoyed reading this book. I’m sad to say that this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this title, let alone read it. Apparently there have been twelve volumes before this and this issue is the beginning of the epilogue to the series. There are a lot of different things that captivated me from the start. The whole premise of the book is very reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A chosen woman is born to fight the forces of darkness (mostly vampires) and, with the help of her friends, goes out to stop the apocalypse. They even have a dynamic where fate has brought about a second Neterus (Carlos/Faith). While there are many similarities, it doesn’t feel as though they ripped anything off. The world is so original and characters so unique that you feel like this could make for an incredible cross-over one day and not have Damali and Buffy facing mirror images of themselves.
One of the other aspects that drew me into this book is the incredibly beautiful art. The word that pops into my mind when I first think of the tone is “urban”. I know. It’s a stereotyped word now a days but it truly is the best way to describe it. The book features a lot of beautifully drawn men and women with slender builds and muscular/curvy physiques that Michael Turner or Ian Churchill would surely appreciate. Especially when the Seer girls have their wings on display; it looks very much like something out of Mr. Turner’s Soulfire. The clothing and hair styles feel like it’s right out of a Blade series with a multitude of different dreadlocks, afro’s, shoulder holsters, and muscle shirts. Each character’s look feels like it tells a story as diverse as the team itself though. You get a strong feeling for who the different players are and what they specialize in whether its brains, muscle or specialty skills by their appearance.
I HAVE NO IDEA BUT IT WORKS FOR ME
While I stated earlier that the art has an urban feel to it, the same is definitely true of the dialogue. There are a lot of abbreviated terms used throughout the book but not so many that you lose track of what’s being said. Instead, you tend to lose your focus because the issue uses a lot of terminology that isn’t explained. You get a general feel for what they’re talking about but, as you read it in the moment, it causes you to pause and wonder if that’s a term you would have known had you read the previous volumes. Aside from the unexplained terminology, there is also information that interested me that I was never told. Such as people’s names. Again, you can read the story and not worry too much about getting lost because everyone that goes on the mission has their name revealed to you at one point. There are, however, many interesting characters in the communications room that have lines and their names are never given. I’m a little put off by that only because the comic interests me so much that I want as much info as I can get without going into the obscure.
TAKE A LOOK AT THIS TITLE
This comic features strong men and equally strong women so, by all means, share it with your significant other. You’ll both be able to enjoy it. I’m intrigued by this title and want to seek out the previous twelve volumes. I really appreciate that they have a section to catch you up on their prior events, too. I give this issue four out of five stars for their beautiful art work and compelling story. I would imagine that any fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer would quickly become a fan of Vampire Huntress and vice versa.