Monday, July 14, 2003

Blood And Water #5 - A Review

Written by: Judd Winick
Penciled by: Tomm Coker
Inked by: Tomm Coker
Colored by: Jason Wright
Lettered by: Kurt Hathaway
Editor: Mariah Huehner
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

First rule of writing: your main character must be sympathetic to the reader. Even if the character is a right scoundrel, the reader has to want the main character to win. Judd Winick blows this rule right out of the water in this, the final chapter of Blood and Water, with a sudden and pointless revelation regarding the past of his main character Adam.

Adam is a double victim of Hepatitis A & B; the result of, we are informed by his internal narrative, food poisoning and his mother’s drug use while pregnant with him. In an effort to save his life, Adam is turned into a vampire by his best friends. The first three issues of this comic were a delight as we heard about Adam’s promise as a student, the collapse of his life thanks to his disease and his rebirth into a world as exciting (and often times more interesting) than any Ann Rice has introduced in the last ten years.

And then at the end of issue three, it happened. Adam’s friend and “maker”, Joshua, was killed by one of “The Tribe”. This “Tribe” is a group of vampires who fed on other vampires, went feral and had to be put down. But some of these vampires reproduced and birthed mortals who, if made into a vampire, will awaken all of the hibernating members of “The Tribe” and spark a mass killing of mortals and vampires.

Sadly, this battle between vampire factions seemed derivative of the movie Blade 2. And any sympathy I felt for Adam was killed by the aforementioned revelation that he caused his own destruction and that his Hepatitis A came from drug use; not food poisoning. The nice guy who had some bad breaks is revealed as a habitual liar who has come to the point of lying to himself about his past actions. This revelation only draws away any sense of tension when Adam goes to fight the awakened “Tribe” members. I didn’t care if he made it through the fight or no.

Still, Tom Coker’s art has been above par through the series. His characters are all uniquely designed and he is an excellent storyteller through action. His inks are dark, but not overly so serving only to make the rare lights and whites of the world seem all the brighter. I hope that Coker will find himself on a monthly book… but not a spin-off of this miniseries.

Overall, this series has left me disappointed. When it started, I thought it was a nice new take on the vampire genre that would be free of the angst that fills too many of the books in the field. But halfway through, it became exactly like every other vampire story I have ever read… even ending with a typical battle royal. And yet, my disappointment comes not from what I think this story was… but what I thought it was going to be and should have been; not another tale of vampires fight vampires, but a story of a man who becomes a vampire and adapts to it like it was any other life change, with a little help from his friends.

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