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Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse--Necromancer #3

Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Laurell K. Hamilton, adapted by Jess Ruffner
Ron Lim
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse--Necromancer #3 arrives in stores tomorrow, July 8.

Plot: Anita questions Wheelchair Wanda, a crippled hooker. Since she works in the St. Louis Tenderloin, Jean-Claude accompanies her as her back-up.

Comments: Well, first off, Lim is fine on this book, but he draws the perkiest Tenderloin anyone has ever seen. His St. Louis is all Hollywood, and he's so much more comfortable with Anita's picturesque bruises and Jean-Claude's rippling muscles than he is with any sort of realistic red light district, especially in the South. The Tenderloin might as well be Disney Studios.

There's not much tension between his idealized images this issue, and the violence that runs through Anita's world.

Though the most telling line is this issue is one Anita makes to herself, when she compares using Jean-Claude as her bodyguard to aiming nuclear warheads at ants. Jean-Claude is the Master Vampire of the city, and as such is by some standards the worst monster in town. It's revealing of the many levels of Anita's denial that when she asks him for help she doesn't really think through what proximity to him for an evening will mean.

Last issue was very talky, and so is this one, as all of the "action" consists mostly of their sexual tension as they are driven to meet the prostitute, followed by parading romance novel hero Jean-Claude down the streets of the Tenderloin, and then taking Wanda back to Anita's apartment to question her. Nothing else happens, except that we are witness to Jean-Claude and Anita's protracted flirtation. Vampire Executioner and Master Vampire is the worst case of opposites attracting ever, but it's what Anita wants ultimately, even if it means she must become (or has already become, in earlier adventures) Jean-Claude's "human servant."

It's only going to get kinkier between these two, and unfortunately in the books Anita eventually loses most of her feisty personality as Jean-Claude's partner. In this bizarrely tantalizing issue, we begin to see their attraction take hold. That Anita hates everything Jean-Claude represents only means their entanglement goes deep. Too deep to resist or escape.

Anita's doing all this to find a zombie killer of children. There must be some way to balance the romance with the action in this comic adaptation, even if Hamilton doesn't really do it in all of her novels. This issue shows how hard that balance is to find.







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