Writer: Laurell K. Hamilton adapted by Stacie M. Ritchie
Artist: Brett Booth
Publisher: Marvel Comics/Dabel Brothers Productions
Plot: Anitaís already in over her head at the club Guilty Pleasures, but when she sees through the vampireís ruses, she has to face a pretty ratty situation. And she still hasnít even met the head honcho.
Comments: This second issue of the new adaptation keeps up the pace from the first. Booth draws vampires as comely romantic heroes, which is likely to appeal to the fans of genre-crossing novelist Hamilton. Ritchieís version of Hamiltonís words cleaves closely to the plot of the source, introducing us step by step to what will become a complex underworld of loyalties and alliances in the series. I donít even remember the seeming major threat from last issue, Aubrey; his simple brutality pales in comparison to Hamiltonís many other monsters.
Jean-Claudeís enigma grows as he quells the vamp and tries to use other vamps to put on a show Anita isnít buying. Her supernatural abilities allow her to see through many vampire charms, but what she canít figure is why she merits this sort of treatment. Playing with vampires is deadly business. When sheís mortally wounded, Jean-Claude heals her, in a way that binds them as supernatural beings. This is after a moment of intimacy and attraction between the two, beautifully realized by Booth as a Valentine entanglement of white limbs and curls of black hair in a halo of Southern rain.
In other words, sheís getting a strange mix of signals, and before she can figure it out sheís abandoned in a dank basement and beset upon by talking rats. In Hamiltonís world, witches, voodoo queens, zombies, werewolves, vampires, were-rats and much else besides are all sentient, and must all find ways of getting along, or perish. The creators again capture Anitaís fearful but never panicked steely determination in the face of danger, as she taunts a ďratmanĒ into a foolish attack. Her shirt has been ripped to reveal the knife sheath on her forearm and a tracery of scars from previous battles. This tiny beauty has fought demons before.
Itís fascinating stuff, of a very different nature to other vampire tales. Though human, Anita has rare gifts that make her an anomaly in this subterranean world, a player rather than a victim. She uses and hones her anger as a weapon, even as she fears becoming a relentless killing machine. Which is just what sheíll need to be, when she faces the vile Nikolaos at last next issue.
If thereís a problem, itís that the adaptation thus far is almost too faithful. It canít be accused of decompression yet, but I hope some judicious editing of Hamiltonís detailed texts keeps the story moving at a brisk pace in the future.
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