Friday, January 30, 2004

Quickie reviews, part one: As I mentioned yesterday, I finally made it to the comics store, and returned with a handful of books -- some newer than others. So bear with me if some of the comics are a little stale.

TALES OF THE VAMPIRE #2 (Dark Horse): I haven't read the first issue of the anthology, so I'm not entirely sure what to make of the opening story by Joss Whedon and Alex Sanchez. I presume the four-page tale carries over from issue to issue; at least I certainly hope it does. Either way, I have a feeling I'm missing something. There's an old vampire chained to a stone chair telling a story to a group of children. And ... that's it. Luckily, the book's other two stories make up for the unsatisfying opener.

Jane Espenson and Scott Morse's "Spot the Vampire" evokes the works of Edward Gorey, light-hearted and simple on the surface, but dark and delightfully wicked just beneath. In a cheery Christmas-shopping setting, the reader is encouraged to pick the vampire from among the holiday hustle and bustle: "A woman named Edith is buying a wreath, but it could be a cover. I can't see her teeth. ... And this child, small and helpless, stares up at the pine. Could someone so small tear your throat from your spine?"

Although Brett Matthews and Vatche Mavlian's "Jack" seems like a standard Jack the Ripper-as-vampire tale, there are a couple of nice surprises that lift it above the mundane. Mavlian's fine lines are well-suited for the subject matter, lending moodiness and beautiful detail to the architecture and alleyways of Victorian London.

Grade: B

Tomorrow, I'll bang out some capsule reviews for DC: The New Frontier #1, The Losers #8 and Batman #622-623.