Thursday, October 05, 2006

Random Reading -- Blade #1

Here's a funny thing about the bookstore at the University of Windsor: they stock a lot of small press graphic novels, some manga and a lot of DC published (including Vertigo, Wildstorm) graphic novels, but only stock Marvel, Dark Horse and Bongo singles. No Marvel trades, no DC singles. How odd.

Anyway, this week, I grabbed a copy of Blade #1. I've never read a Blade comic before, never seen the movies or TV show and have generally had no interest whatsoever in the character. Not since I was, maybe, nine have I had any interest in vampires either. Not my thing. Although, judging from writer Marc Guggenheim's intro/letter column editorial, that is what he wants from a reader (or, an ass in the seat as it were).

Holy shit! Spider-Man's a vampire! And . . . what's the point? We get two pages of a barely seen fight and that's it. Blade shoots him in the kneecaps and suddenly, Spider-Vampire poses no threat, but don't worry because Dracula is here to start some shit, except he's killed right away, too. I guess the point is that Blade is the fucking Man.

And the rest of the issue supports that. All of the threats he encounters are shown briefly (if at all) before he eliminates them. It would be wrong to call this book an action comic, because there's little actual action here. Most of what you would like to see if off-panel. Teenage vampires? They're established as existing, but then nothing. S.H.I.E.L.D. taken over by vampires? Two or three panels and they're taken out. It's like Guggenheim gives the reader a handjob, but always stops before ejaculation. And then begins tugging on the dick again, but oh no, so sorry, no cumming for you!

There's also brief flashes back to Blade's birth and him as a kid. These are the only parts of the issue that work because, well, they don't need to be complete. The rest of the issue lacks a completeness. Guggenheim says he wants to tell two stories per issue, but he only tells one of them well. Wanting a complete story is fine, as is compression, but there has to be a payoff at some point. And, here, there never is.

As well, Howard Chaykin's art is good most of the time, but looks really stiff in some scenes, especially when Blade falls in on the vampire S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Actually, his Blade is the worst-looking character in the book. Everyone else looks fine, but Blade looks off. Maybe he just hasn't gotten a handle on him yet.

I won't be picking up any future issues. Maybe if I hear Guggenheim's worked out some of his problems, I'll flip through an issue in the shop.