Love can bring two people together from beyond great distances, even death! When the gun totting former American soldier, John Sargent, falls deeply in love with a gorgeous Chinese woman named Mei, all seemed right in the world. Except for the fact, that she is a Vampire. Will their love last? Or will it burst into flames at first light?
Note: This comic doesn’t arrive in stores until March 30th , 2011 so SPOILERS AHEAD!
Previously, in Undying Love: Nothing, this is the first issue, you get to start on the ground floor, and work your way up.
A TALE OF LOVE, GUNS, AND BLOOD
From a temple in the countryside of Mainland China, to the bustling streets of Hong Kong, John Sargent and the love of his life, the undead vampire Mei, journey far and wide to get to a point of safety. While Mei and John are from two different worlds, John will not let the forces that seek to end their union get the best of them, as he searches to return Mei’s humanity.
The tone of the story can be described easily as the mix of the vampire movie “Near Dark”, with the Gun-Fu John Woo film, “A Better Tomorrow”. But though the action is heavy in some parts, the heart of this comic is the love between John, and Mei, and at no point does it forget that.
John comes off as a man that will do whatever he has to do to secure a future for himself, and the woman he loves. The honesty of his character is very evident when he takes on a horde of Ancient looking Chinese Warrior Vampires, with the odds clearly against him but John will not stop, because he simply can‘t.
Using the almost blasphemous .45 caliber pistol to dispatch the vampires, and their warriors is something that works well. John was a soldier, pistols, and other military hardware is something he is accustomed to, and the way the scenes are choreographed is very reminiscent to the way John Woo would construct them.
Now I have mentioned the John Woo connection a lot, and I don’t want anyone to mistake that as a bad thing, or that Coker is ripping him off, it’s probably a inspiration, and a good one at that. The only thing that the comic is missing is a scattering flock of pigeons.
Once in Hong Kong, John’s interactions(since Mei is mostly out of it, due to her need of blood) with the people at the Hotel, and the “kid” Tong, who runs a apothecary is a fun little back and forth that was at times so easing, and smoothly paced I kind of wanted to set back and watch it like a movie, but alas I had to turn the pages.
The story is a different take on the Vampire Romance genre, and it’s kind of odd to say that it’s a genre, but it’s not the story you’d expect. Within Undying Love you won’t find Emo Vampires that brood due to their existence, these vampires are old, rich, and powerful, and won’t recoil at the sight of a cross. They hide in the shadows, they don’t live in the spooky castle on the hill, these vampires actually come off as pretty realistic, and all of it is actually a practical way to “live” as one of the immortal undead.
24 FRAMES PER SECOND
The artwork of this comic is by Tomm Coker, I first took notice of his work when he did the eye catching covers to Marvel’s “Agents of Atlas”(may the rest in peace) mini-series. His style reminds me of Alex Maleev, but out of the two I prefer Coker’s style much more, it doesn’t look like he ran it through Apple’s Comic Life “Sin City” filter
Coker successfully takes the concept of “Widescreen” comics, and actually makes it flow like a movie, and not just look like story boards. To be fair, Tomm Coker wrote and directed the 2007 horror film, “Catacombs” starring Shannyn Sossamon, and the singer, Pink. I think this work in film allows him to be able to cut to the chase visually, showing the crucial points in a characters physical movement, as well clearly defining the background, and environment they interact with.
The detail shown on the characters, such as the Ancient looking Chinese Vampire Warriors is clear, and almost mesmerizing, the beauty of Mei is astounding, I can clearly see why John fell in love with her. Coker really seems to be able to depict women without objectifying them, I can really respect that. With the vampires depicted being from China they are not wearing all black and looking like wanna-be members of The Sisters of Mercy, they come off as regal, and definitely mysterious.
The color that is provided by Daniel Freedman, who is also the co-writer, is somewhat reminiscent to the color that John Van Fleet employs. The color is smooth, and makes the page sing with a celluloid like hum that brings to mind film, and with the combination with the rich black and white artwork, makes the whole of this comic come together.
LOVE GROWS WHERE BLOOD FLOWS
It’s the details of the comic that made me fall in love with it, like the drunk bum in the lobby of the Hotel who is singing to himself. It felt scene appropriate, but if you took the bum out it’d be missing something, like there would be a hole there, and I think that’ the point. The didn’t just write a story, and illustrate it, they crafted a world, a living breathing entity that has unique beings that are sometimes comical, sometimes, aggravating, and sometimes scary.
I have read through Previews many a time, had the words “Offers Something for Everyone…”, or something very close to that, thrown at me. But I rarely found that promise to actually have any teeth, and be anything other than a marketing ploy. Undying Love does in fact leave itself open for nearly anyone to jump on in and enjoy it’s tale of romance, gunplay, and or course, vampires.
Final Verdict, Undying Love #1 receives 4.5 Stars, out of 5. But as always ladies and gents, “Your Mileage May Vary!”