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Anita Blake, The Laughing Corpse - Executioner #2

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Laurell K. Hamilton, adapted by Jess Ruffner
Ron Lim, Laura Villari (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Anita Blake, The Laughing Corpse - Executioner #2 arrives in stores Thursday, December 3.

Plot: What a night. Zombies. Over-medication. Cops with bad senses of humor. And, oh yeah, didn't all this start with a rich guy who tried to boss Anita around?

Comments: This issue captures the feeling of Hamilton's books better than recent ones have (which have had a surfeit of talking heads or uneven action). Hamilton specializes in sandstorms of bad news blowing Anita's way all at once. If she's sick or injured or without a gun, you just know some horrible crucible is coming her way soon.

It turns out it was a bright light that scared off the zombie last issue, who attacked Anita not to kill or eat her, but to beg to be buried again. Zombies in this reality crave flesh, but it's not because of an infection and they aren't contagious. It's because they're dead, and only blood can give them a semblance of life again. Anita realizes that this particular zombie is so formidable because, in life, he was an animator, like herself. Which really creeps her out.

Then we break for a well-timed respite, as Dolph and Zerbrowski (the two cops she deals with most in the "spook squad" as their consultant) go in for some gentle ribbing as she's patched up in the hospital. Unfortunately, she's also given heavy painkillers (considering she was just nearly strangled and crushed by the monster before he was immolated), and the police escort fails to follow her inside her apartment, where kidnappers await.

The rest of the issue consists of the malignant Gaynor trying to coerce Anita to use her talents for his gain. He's lopped a half million off his offer for her to raise a corpse so long-dead it would take a human sacrifice to do it (against her principles), seeing as how he had to go to the trouble of abducting her to renew his appeal. But he still thinks his money can buy him whatever he wants. What a standup guy. It's crass creeps like this that Anita takes down for the good of the community, but it's an uphill battle to get a foothold against villains who don't possess her scruples.

By my guess, she's got three more issues in this arc to make her point. With Lim providing the art, it's going to be creepy and witty and fun, usually at all the right times.

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