Move over, Buffy Summers.
Or at least, that’s what writer Frank LaPerch and Ash Jackson hope readers will say after sampling Arcana Comics’ latest offering Eve: Vampire Diva.
Light-hearted and remarkably free of the angst that so often drives other vampire tales, the dynamically illustrated Eve is poised to sink her teeth into a comic book genre that has recently seen something of a rejuvenation.
But can our diva hang with the likes of Anita Blake, Buffy Summers, and those bastards in Alaska?
Jessica Evelyn Murphy, “Eve” for short, is just another aging pop star being overtaken by Britney Spears wannabes and subject to merciless tabloid reports. Now, her manager decides to rope her into a potentially embarrassing contract to do a reality show. And, if that wasn’t enough, there’s the tiny little detail of her being an immortal vampire dedicated to slaying monsters as she shrugs off the unwanted attention of a mysterious “Council.”
LaPerch does a solid job juggling two storylines that are rich enough to both warrant their own books. On the one hand, the vampire storyline starts out rather business-as-usual, with Eve dispatching a werewolf. But later in the issue, things take a more sinister turn as the Council, which I assume handles Eve much like the Watchers Council handled Buffy, begins to show signs of wanting to take her down a notch. Eve also uncovers a mystery regarding the werewolf she defeated… a mystery that may tie into her own troubled past.
Now this is intriguing enough on its own, but the flip side to the issue is just as, if not more, interesting. What elevates this comic above the standard gothic action stuff out there is the personal life of our heroine. The problems that Eve deals with in her day job are typical for the likes of Mariah Carey… over-the-hill divas in danger of losing their fan base to the Christina Aguilera’s and Hilary Duff’s. Eve deals with them in a sarcastic, light-hearted manner, but you can sense beneath that exterior, is someone desperately hoping for acceptance… and even just a hint of love.
This, for me, is what’s most interesting about Eve. She may be immortal, she may be a truly brilliant fighter, but at her core, she is as human as the rest of us.
In fact, the strength of these two storylines may be one of Eve’s weaknesses. Both are fascinating, but as they flip back and forth, you end up wanting more of the story you just left. I can only hope that this issue will resolve itself as the series goes on.
Another, minor blip is the dialogue. For the most part, it’s believable, but the action scenes unfortunately sometimes dip into well-worn action film clich�s. Not too often, mind you, but enough that I got pulled out of the story at times.
If there is just one word I could use to describe the art by Ash Jackson, it would be “Dynamic.”
Each panel leaps off the page in a wonderfully kinetic and vibrant burst of energy that isn’t content to just show a hot chick in black leather. The most important factor of comic book art is not prettiness… it’s storytelling. And Ash Jackson’s art has both in spades.
Never muddled, never static, and always tinged with a sense of tongue-in-cheek humour, the art of Eve: Vampire Diva is the perfect compliment to a story as unique as this.
So, can Eve knock Buffy and Anita off their lofty perches?
Not quite, given Ms. Summers and Ms. Blake’s considerable history and fanbase.
But she can definitely hang with them.
Publisher: Arcana Comics
Writer: Frank LaPerch
Artist: Ash Jackson