It's impossible for a comic publisher or comic imprint to always put out quality material. Sooner or later it's bound to happen that something will slip through that just doesn't work or can't live up to the lofty standards set by other titled put out in their prescence. Skin Graft is one of Vertigo's few failures. From start to finish, it's at the same time a mess of a story and a case study in the use of cliche.
A man is sent to prison and while he is there another convict, who is apparently allowed to have a tattoo iron and ink in his cell, tatoos him all over, professing it is a work of art his is crafting. The man being tatooed is content to keep getting tatoos because he likes the tatooer's personality and his touch on his skin (there are definitely more than a few subtle homosexual innuendoes if you look for them).
After his release, our former convict opens his own tatoo parlor. Over time his art is noticed by a high class Japanese tatoo clan. He goes there, after a hot Japanese girl steals his heart, and learns the art of tatooing as if it was some form of martial art or a religion of some sort. It hits the fan, however, when you find out that someone is killing and skinning all of our convict's customers. Eventually they come for our lead character as well, but he uses some metaphysical power embedded within the tatooing on his body to overcome his enemies, sucking them through some "door" all the while not letting them take over his body and such.
Honestly, the story seemed completely unbelievable, even after I completely suspended my disbelief. Throughout the story you're also treated to cryptic fortune cookie level bits of "deep" insights. The only upside to this four issue miniseries is the sometimes attractive and interesting art. For the most part, though, it isn't all that great either. You know, when I think about it, there really isn't all that much that was really good about the art either. This miniseries never really got off the ground, never figured out where it really wanted to go, and ended in a murky, somewhat unexplained way. This is one Vertigo title you might want to shy away from.