Writer/Artist: Batton Lash, Trevor Nielson & Melissa Uran (art assists)
Publisher: Exhibit A
Batton Lash currently is in mid-lycanthrope howl for Supernatural Law. So it makes sense that he would publish a special one-shot sequel to a story previously seen in his title. The alternative would be to either wait or disrupt the flow of the current shaggy dog.
Despite this one-shot being self-contained, it still advances the characterization and current nature of the firm, within the continuity framework of the regular series. New readers however need not fear being left in the dark.
Christopher Leach is a descendent of your typical Hollywood type vampire. He however is not of the type. He cannot undergo metamorphosis. He doesn't drink blood, and he hasn't any problems with sunburn. Vampiric overbite and a few quirks in behavior, such as sleeping upside down, are the only traits he inherited. That still doesn't dissuade Hollywood from wanting to tell his story. Naturally if you're going to sell your story to the movie machine, you'll want your lawyers by your side. Enter Alanna Wolff & Jeff Byrd.
Batton Lash surprises by not making the story about Leach attempting to gain some coin from his troubles, or the legal ins and outs of the Hollywood deal. Instead, he throws a murder--something I don't think ever has been dealt with in Supernatural Law--into the works.
When a wheeler-and-dealer last seen in the thin-blooded vampire's company is found exsanguinated in addition to having puncture marks in the throat, the police naturally suspect Christopher Leach. A slow O.J. chase ensues until finally they corner the hapless Leach. This time, the LAPD are armed with garlic and stakes. Somewhere Carl Kolchak is nursing a whiskey, staring at the television and muttering "Oh, sure. Where were you when I needed you?"
Lash interestingly enough has very subtly created a unique world, still mostly reflecting our own, that recognizes the changes in the continual monster invasion of culture. A vampire hunter isn't needed here because everybody in Wolff's & Byrd's universe, largely due to Wolff's & Byrd's highly publicized cases knows how to stop a monster, especially vampires.
Leach of course has nothing to do with the crime, and the culprit nicely fits with the plot and provides the comedy of the conclusion. The epilogue ends sweetly, and that's difficult to do when one has a homicide adding drama to a book that usually functions on misunderstandings and misdemeanors.
In between the main plot, character bits such as Mavis introducing a new intern to the firm and how others think of Wolff & Byrd spice up the story as well as open new doors for Lash to explore. Wolff & Byrd share there usual easy camaraderie, and it's exemplified in a dinner scene that's full of wit and charm.
The sharp black and white artwork never proves to be bloodless, and Lash stretches his artistic muscles a bit by keeping Wolff & Byrd out of the courtroom and providing amusing melodramatic gestures for certain characters. The book concludes with a fair abundance of pin-ups, some telling a story with just one scene.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!