Posted: Thursday, February 21
By: Michael Deeley
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Writer: Russell Uttley
Artist: Ben Oliver
Publisher: Com.X (www.comxcomics.com)
Price: $3.99 USD (40 page issue)
Puncture is a member of the Na Eth No'Var, a Vampiric race that protects humans whose families had made a pact with them in ancient times. The price for this protection is paid with human blood. Puncture has rescued a young woman named Samantha, who wants to learn more about him and his life. But Puncture is keeping her at arm’s length for her own protection. Later, Puncture meets the mysterious 12 O'clock man, who seems to represent a group more powerful than the No'Var. And somehow an event in 12th Century Europe has repercussions felt today.
I read the first issue of this series when it came out several months ago. I saw the series had a lot of potential, solid art, good production values, and a unique sense of design. I'm pleased to find this is still the case. Puncture, unlike most heroes with a mysterious past, is genuinely interesting. Instead of his hidden past acting like a weight, it forms a barrier between him and everyone else. His loneliness gives him a vulnerability that attracts the reader. Clues to his past, such as the arrival of a priest who calls him "Lucas", appear at just the right times to keep the reader interested in the mystery that is Puncture. And it is indeed a mystery.
Samantha is much more than the typical "rescued-victim-sucked-into-this-crazy-world" character. She is confident, forward, forceful and strong. Samantha is almost the complete opposite of a victim. And yet, her life was threatened. And Puncture rescued her. Now she's determined to know more, whether he likes it or not.
The art uses a similar Earth-tone color scheme as 'Elektra' and 'Alias'. Ben Oliver's inks are thin to define people, and thick everywhere else. His art has an abstract quality that is difficult to accurately describe. I can best describe it as a mix of Frank Miller's 'Sin City', John Paul Leon's 'Earth X', and Brian Michael Bendis' 'Jinx'. The people look like people, but their feelings seem to play across their faces and bodies. The pictures lack a sense of objective realism, instead being composed of colors, shapes, and light to convey the appropriate mood and feeling. A difficult trick for even experienced artists to pull off, but Oliver seems in control of this unique style.
On the whole, this is a strange comic. You feel it as much as you read it. There seems to be an S&M undercurrent to the relationship between Puncture and Samantha. He is her protector, but hers is the stronger will. I'll definitely be getting the issue I missed. If your local shop can't order back issues of 'Puncture', go to their website at http://www.comxcomics.com/. You'll have to print out their order form, and maybe convert their pounds to US dollars, but it will be worth it.
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