My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked this graphic novel up from the library on a whim. I'm a sucker for vampires and I'm tired of the perfect glittery kind. David Miller is anything but. He's stuck being a night manager at a convenience mart. In fact, he was turned into a vampire for that very reason. His master, Lord Radu is an old Romanian vampire, complete with accent and his previous night manager was a thief so he created David. Poor Dave can't even stand the smell of blood and lives on plasma only, which means he has no special powers. Radu wants him to drink and fight but Dave just doesn't have it in him. He lives with his high school buddy, Carl (human) and his only other friend seems to be Jerome who is also locked into the quickie mart life.
Dave has a massive crush on Rosa, a Goth Girl who comes into the Last Stop where he works. He considers her out of his league and she does have a boyfriend. He finally decides to make a play for her, only to learn that Wes, the former night manager and former surfer, and general pain in Dave's ass, decides he wants Rosa just to make Dave miserable.
With Carl and Jerome's dubious help, Dave does manage a friendship with her, having trouble moving from guy she can talk to, to boyfriend status. Wes is doing his level best to make sure Dave fails and he does have the advantage of being tall, blond and gorgeous, not to mention owning a rare vampire movie trilogy Rosa loves. Rosa is a wanna be clothing designer, convinced she's not quite good enough because of her Mexican background. What Dave hasn't taken into consideration is that if he does get Rosa to go out with him, Goths love vampires. She might want to be one and the whole very traditional vampire thing might not deter her. He can't tell her that he loathes the lifestyle and that he is entirely beholden to his master, Radu who is a decent master but a real cheapskate. Dave can't tell her that the female vampires are 'vampire brides.' So, even if he gets his wish and gets Rosa, he may still lose out.
Over all, this is a fun graphic novel. The art is decent and Dave and Rosa are great characters. The ending was a bit predictable but that didn't take away my enjoyment of the story.
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The Innocent by Avi Arad
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The American 'manga' came with a back flap filled with accolades from graphic novel fans such as Stan Lee, Sam Raimi and Nicolas Cage. They wrote this manga a big check to cash. Raimi said 'The Innocent takes the best of Japanese and American storytelling and combines it with the finest Korean artwork to form a mesmerizingly stylish comic. It should not be missed.' Well, yes and no.
Johnny was a detective framed for murder by a mobster and sent to the chair. He's teamed with an Angel who has lost its wings (male? Female? We're not really sure). He's being sent back to earth to keep another innocent man from suffering the same fate at the hands of the same man, Frame Burns. This young man, Joshua, is being prosecuted by Rain Evans the same lawyer who put Johnny away. However, once Johnny realizes that the same players are involved, his mission is forgotten. All he wants is revenge.
The Angel has to rein him in or it will never get its wings back. Johnny sort of agrees but only if he gets to do it his way. He is bound by chains that will rein him in, no killing allowed. He learns what his undead body can do. He is made of ash and he can use it to form weapons. As he tries to keep Mira, Joshua's sister safe until she can deliver the recording that will free him, Johnny crosses paths with Rain, who might have been more than just his lawyer and with a psychopath working with Frame named Whirl.
Whirl can see Johnny and the Angel doesn't know why nor does it know why Johnny is able to slip his own chains. The path to saving Joshua and Mira is a long one and the end will be the restoration of Johnny's life and the angel's wings, provided of course, Whirl doesn't stop Johnny cold.
Is it a good story? Yes. Is the art good? It's gorgeous. Is it all that? No, unfortunately for me it falls...well not apart, it's better than that, how about it falls a little short. It quickly becomes just like any other fight manga with not enough story telling. Why did the angel lose its wings? HOW is Johnny so special and why? It's mentioned many times but it's never explained. Whirl sadly descends into Slasher villain unstoppable silliness. I liked this. I really did. But it needed to be something very special to live up the the praise. Heck, it really had to be something special because the return from the dead for vengeance storyline is well trod ground. I mean, we already have a comic book version of this with a better told storyline and gorgeous art in J. O'Barr's The Crow. Other than vengeance, there is nothing in common between the two of them. I was left with too many questions to be entirely in love with The Innocent but it was good. It was sort of open ended so maybe they'll revisit it.
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