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American Virgin #12

Posted: Monday, March 5, 2007
By: Martijn Form



Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Artists: Becky Cloonan (p), Jim Rugg (i), Brian Miller (colors)

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo


Plot: In book 3 of the 5 part "Wet" arc Adam searches for the love of his life, which supposedly wasnít his murdered fiancť Cassie.

Comments: In the last few issues we learned that Adam got a vision when his plane crashed that his murdered fiancť Cassie may not be the true love of his life. God had said to Adam "the girl you first see," and it could well be that Cassie isnít that person. Cassie was a finalist in a Miss Teen contest, so if she wasnít the first girl he saw, who was it then?

Adam turns this into a quest to find the right girl.

Steven T. Seagle is a nice writer, always good for an off beat story. His graphic novel Itís a bird is a good example of his excellent writing. He really gets the best out of his characters, but here in American Virgin itís beginning to get stale. When I was reading his House of Secrets (also from Vertigo) a while back I got the same feeling that Iím getting now. The story is going in a circle, with no real development. The problem I had with House of Secrets when it hit around issue #10 is that Seagle chose to focus on a strange story rather than explore the depths of his characters, and thatís the kiss of death for a character driven book.

So Adam is a man of God and a virgin but still a teenage boy with urges. I got that from the first issue. And for a virgin and somewhat holy boy, he has seen more kinky sex parties than most of us will see in a lifetime. Even in this issue the first five pages are set in a dark room, which by the way is drawn excellently by Becky Cloonan with a major assist by Jim Rugg's inks. Itís moody and doesnít get too explicit. But I find Adamís motivations unlikely. He is there to find the love of his life, but would you search for someone like that in a darkroom? No, I donít think so. So why doesnít he wait a few hours to meet her somewhere more private?

I found this behavior unrealistic for a personality like Adam. A public figure that represents the word of God wandering in a dark room. Now maybe there is more than meets the eye. He is still a boy right? And when you look at Cloonan's art, there is something really wrong with this boy. His facial expressions can be more devilish than divine. There is a deep dark secret that dwells in his soul.

Unfortunately, my interest in this book is fading. The murder of Cassie isnít a major issue anymore, and I believe this is the biggest drama any person can endure in his life. No, but Adam the holy virgin is already looking for a replacement, because his vision (read God) says so. So the feelings he had for Cassie wasnít love. Or does the deep feelings of loving each other have no meaning anymore?

You tell me.

The story is offbeat alright, but itís lacking more depth that is meant for mature readers book. I can appreciate that Vertigo is taking its comic line a step further, but I donít think readers will follow American Virgin right to the end. The mystery isnít fascinating enough to be a must read for the next issue. And again this issue has a weak cliff-hanger.

I love Becky Cloonan's art, and for that I will stick with American Virgin until the end of this story arc. After that I shall have to reconsider what to do with American Virgin.

As a Vertigo fan I want this series to be great, but so far it canít stand in the shadow of some new books like The Exterminators, DMZ or Testament.



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