May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Bento Review: LA Banks’ Vampire Huntress

Comic Bento finishes out its five book box with L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress.  Now, apparently, Banks has written a series of novels set in this universe, and since Dynamite is all about the licensed material, here we are with a new story, written by the original author, that acts as an epilogue to her completed novel series.  The last time Dynamite and Comic Bento sent me something like this, I got the surprisingly fun Mercy Thompson story.  I read enough to actually be interested in trying one of the actual Mercy Thompson novels at some point.  Will I likewise be interested in sampling some of Banks’ work?

Um, no.

Banks plotted out this story with a script by one Jess Ruffner, and while the Mercy Thompson trade more or less explained everything that I, a newcomer to the world, needed, Banks’ world doesn’t quite do that.  There’s a one page explainer that says that one Damali Richards is the Neteru, a special human born every thousand years as a Warrior of Light set to fight the forces of supernatural evil, that recently Damali and her team stopped armageddon by killing a mess of vampires, defeating Lucifer, wounding the Anti-Christ, and dispatching Lilith.  And now half of the team is pregnant.

Um, what?

I will note when I looked the series up, Amazon had it listed at least partly under “romance”.  And for all that intro makes it sounds like Damali is one-of-a-kind, it turns out there’s a second Neteru running around in the form of her lover Carlos, father to her unborn twins.  They spend most of the book bickering whether she needs to stay behind while she’s pregnant but she’s so valuable in tracking the awful monster they keep running into…yeah…

There’s also, like, just judging from a two-page spread, something like twenty people on their team.  Many were not identified, but I got the impression that the characters would have been very familiar to fans of the series.  Instead, we got a large, multi-ethnic group of people who keep calling themselves things like “brother” and “sister,” using powers that weren’t explained to a newcomer like me, and in a rather choppy manner with inconsistent artwork.

Oh, the artwork itself wasn’t the inconsistent part.  It’s just that a four part story that originally came out as individual 22 page issues probably shouldn’t have three different artists.

Yeah, this thing didn’t work for me.  Four out of ten random guys turning into panthers for one panel.

And for a “girl power,” box, can I just say these books were rather so-so in representing strong women.  The best book was probably the Marvel team book, and the female members didn’t stand out in a particularly special way compared to their male teammates.  There was a surprisingly good Aspen book, a short thing from Dark Horse that might have been based on a video game, and then lackluster Dynamite and Zenescope books.  I know there’s generally one book per box I don’t much care for, but this whole box was rather blah.  Imagine if they’d sent me a Bitch Planet or any recent Wonder Woman trade how much stronger the overall monthly box might have been.

Oh well.

NEXT MONTH:  Comic Bento’s theme for next month is “old school”.  Classic reprints?  Actual stories set in schools?  That could mean anything.