Thursday Comic Review
Undying Love by Tomm Coker is the story of star-crossed lovers – a soldier and a vampire. The story takes place in a China where visions from spirits and the existence of vampires is hardly enough to make the main character, John, bat an eye.
John is on a quest to kill the vampire who bit the woman that John loves, subsequently turning her into a vampire herself. But Mei is one of those good vampires modern literature loves to write about. You know the type – those who refuse to kill humans to survive. So John ends up having to use a syringe to suck the blood out of himself and recycle it into Mei. Neither of them are thrilled with the process (who would be?), but it is the only way she can stay alive until he finds the cure.
The cure ends up being the consumption of the ashes of the heart of Shang-ji, the vampire that originally bit her. John seems to feel no intimidation over the fact that Shang-ji is the oldest and most powerful vampire in China and that he “has sent more people to hell than Death himself.” John is an experienced vampire hunter. He knows what he must do – find the nearest vampire hangout and get noticed by Shang-ji.
So that’s really all there is to say about the premise of this new comic. Therefore, I’ll start my criticism for this comic at the beginning. The title is Undying Love … really? Tomm Coker, you really went there with that pun? Obviously I got past this fact and bought the comic anyway. My rationale was this: vampire are in. Really in. I want cover a variety of different types of comics in these reviews. Ok. Time to throw the vampire people a bone.
Yikes. This bone will make you choke. This is supposed to be a love story about a man protecting his lover, yet really it seemed about awkward scenes of a man who is rather annoyed with his lover sprinkled in between scenes where he proves that he is a complete tough-guy bad-ass. Though I will give this (perceivably) one-dimensional character this much credit: he is very protective of her. He will do whatever it takes to make sure that she is protected: finding them shelter, fighting off those who want to harm her, boarding up windows so she is not exposed to sunlight, and giving her the blood out of his own arm. Though that I didn’t understand. I suppose in this particular story that she will turn John into a vampire too if she bites him at all in order to drink his blood, though that piece of information is not explained.
I will say this. Daniel Freedman’s art was fantastic. It was dark and gritty and expressed the tone of the comic perfectly. There is one image in particular of Mei as she freaks out on people attacking her and gets vampired-up. It’s not the hot/sexy vampires that we see in movies now-a-days. This chick would be scary as *$%& to meet on a dark street. The artwork gives the book the illusion of personality, which frankly I just don’t think it would otherwise have.
I hate slamming books. In fact, I want to point out that other websites have given this book rather good reviews (Major Spoilers.com, Fangoria.com). There is a very real chance that I am missing something awesome about this book. I’m not against vampires in principal. In fact I normally like themes like this that go back to the day when vampires were alluring but scary as all get-out. This just didn’t appeal to me. I felt like it was hackneyed and the emotional connection between the two lovers, which we were obviously supposed to feel, was contrived and/or barely existent. I will never advise against buying a book, but I rather would like my $2.99 back personally.