Current Reviews


Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #4

Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Laurell K. Hamilton, adapted by Jess Ruffner
Ron Lim, June Chung (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #4 arrives in stores tomorrow, August 26.

Plot: Anita interrogates a crippled hooker, with Jean-Claude's help, and then visits a crime scene of carnage.

Comments: I don't quite get what Ron Lim is doing with this title. His slick lines and the brilliant colors used on his pages are dissonant with the violence and threatening situations being depicted. It's a little like if Disney suddenly took over production on a Rob Zombie movie. The difference between what's shown and what's described is never far enough off to be inaccurate, but the cheeriness of Lim's style makes many of the verbal lines almost satirical.

Anita talks a lot (the book is in constant narration mode) about "gallows humor" this issue, and in that sense Lim captures the unique quality of this property. Anita is an archetypal heroine, a beautiful but tough and tiny bombshell, and her lovers (the vampire, the werewolf, the man-tiger, and the others) are all idealized models of masculinity. The crossed genres of romance and horror are strange bedfellows, and Lim makes sure it all looks orderly and attractive even when what he's showing would make Lovecraft grin.

Storywise, we get to see Anita at work in two situations. Bullying the prostitute, she is correctly identified through her good cop/bad cap act as "a social worker type" by Wheelchair Wanda, who still tells her what she wants to know about a mutual enemy. Anita's pity isn't wanted by Wanda, and she lets Jean-Claude take her home after the interrogation.

Then Anita is called to a scene of carnage, another family butchered by an implacable, voracious foe. In studying the evidence (of body parts and blood), Anita and the other cops (who accept her as a fellow soldier in the trenches) engage in a crass game of betting and one-upmanship. Everyone knows they're just trying to process the trauma, and Anita as usual proves herself not just one of the boys, but the toughest dude of all.

We still don't have all the answers four issues in, but we know the two foes, Dominga the voodoo priestess and Gaynor the client who won't take no for answer, have done themselves no favors by attacking Anita and endangering her friends. One feels payback is on the way next issue.

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