Sunday, April 03, 2005

Dead @ 17: Blood of Saints

The first Dead @ 17 miniseries was an interesting read simply because of the unique art style. It was a simplistic, brightly colored, manga influenced style that was easy on the eyes. Even though the story was somewhat muddled, it was fun enough to read for the art and combination of high school drama, coming back from the dead, and zombie fights. Blood of Saints continues the story of Nara and her friends, but it isn't quite as readable as the first mini.

Blood of Saints suffers from "middle story" disease. It's the mid-point of a trilogy so there can't be any huge, life changing events in it since that will be saved for the final chapter of the trilogy, but you also need to find a way to keep the readers interested so what's a writer to do? In Josh Howard's case, he creates the antithesis of Nara, who will serve as the channel for the return of our big, bag, evil nemesis from the first mini.

I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that Howard re-uses a chunk of plotting from the first mini in this one. Instead of Nara dying and then coming back to life, it's another girl--Violet. The only difference between her and Nara is that Violet gives in to the dark calling she was created to fulfill. This does set up the climactic battle between the two that takes place at the end of the mini, but everything that happens between the beginning of the story and the final battle is pretty boring and lacking in action.

This mini has a lot more talking and a lot less zombie killing, which may turn away some fans. There's also a good amount of gratuitous semi-naked girl shots. There's never a nipple or nether region shown, but the girls in this series spend a lot of time naked or only wearing a small rag around their body parts. Since I'm not 16 any more, this kind of turned me off and made the whole story feel like a chance to draw some exploitive art.

I can't recommend this mini as much as the first, but hopefully when I read the final chapter of the trilogy it will all come together and feel like a nice, cohesive whole. I'll keep my hopes up, but as time goes on the novelty of Howard's art is slowly wearing off so let's hope the third installment of Dead @ 17 has a beefier story to keep me interested.

Art: 3
Story: 2
Overall: 2.5

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