I can't. I can't do it. I wanted to make it a full year, but I can't do it another week. This whole idea of me trying to find "the one", THE comic book...it just isn't working. I found one. I did. And it was great. But nothing so far has come close to The Sword. I thought I could keep this up, these attempts to date some comics - but I started getting bored a few months back. And I just can't do it anymore.
I guess my appetite has changed. I'm feeling a little more charged up - a little more on the prowl for something exciting, something subversive! Yeah....I think I wanna read about...vampires. Yeah! VAMPIRES!
Fuck all this serious business. I want to have some wacky fun. I wanna read comics about vampires. I want to review comics about vampires. I want to compare and contrast them to see which one is the absolute best and then see which one is the absolute worst!!! I think that will be sweet.
So, with that idea, I picked up Avengers 3. All vampires, all the time! What? Have you read these? Holy shit. Just check out the cover - Hulk the vampire! It's gonna be AMAZING!
It turns out that what is really amazing about all three of these is how poorly constructed and edited they are. But I don't want you to fix them, Marvel. No no no. They are just too much fun, just the way they are!
Now let's get down to the nitty gritty. I like vampires, kind of, lately. I like trying everyone's different takes on them and comparing and contrasting mythologies. No, I don't like Twilight. I tried to read it, but the teen angst was so freakin' boring. And I came late to the Buffy Party, and then I left early. Nevertheless, I'm kind of fascinated with other people's fascination with them. And I love the idea that vampires get to have all our worst qualities, but shined up in a way that makes all that badness seem attractive.
Imagine my delight, if you will. I'm thinking that perhaps I'll just go ahead and try as many vampire comics as I can possibly stand, and it turns out there's a whole Avengers series that just started about vampires AND superheroes. Lucky for me, right?
The very first thing I noticed was, honestly, the first piece of text in Issue 1: "What you say you do again, Blade? Hunt Vampires?" I had to read it twice, maybe three times. Is it intentional that she does not say "What DID you say you do again?" Or is it some seriously racist shit going on in the text from minute one? Even if it was, it didn't make a lot of sense to me. Thank goodness, though, the same lack of attention was paid to editing issue 3! That's how I came to believe that this was NOT intentional, but just a case of shoddy proofreading! In issue 3, we have three caucasians talking to each other and one says, "What you doing eating Snickers, Hawkeye?"
Going back to issue 1, I found the opening first scene with Blade oh-so-awfully-delightful. A group of vampires show up and say something like, "hey, don't mess with our boss!" making it, essentially, a my-dad-is-bigger-than-you-and-will-beat-you-up first-grade tactic. Hilariously, Blade slaughters all of them, including the prostitutes who are, of course, vampire prostitutes sent to "tire him out." Amazing!
But then, as I was reading issue one - I got SO confused. Right after the Blade part, the page one the right depicts an ad for Wolverine #1, which is called "Logan Goes to Hell". And when you turn to the next page, it felt like an entirely different comic had started. I had to flip back and forth. Was issue 1 really short and now they were featuring an excerpt from Wolverine #1? That wouldn't make sense, right?
I had to ask my local expert as to what the situation was. He said, no, that it wasn't a bonus section. Just "poor construction." He seemed irritated that I didn't notice that the art was the same and told me to "keep reading." I told him I would, but that he should try to be nicer.
It turns out that the next section is all about the new Daredevil. I've never read much (any?) Daredevil, so it felt like a crash course. There was enough of an intro to get me tied into him and his trainer "Stick" that I was sufficiently surprised to see Stick die at the hands, or really, the teeth, of the Hulk. Vampire Hulk! The whole picture just scrambled my brains.
And then next thing you know, the new Daredevil gets bitten as well! AAAaaaaaaaaah!!! What's gonna happen? What can we do? Well, just take a look at the very last page to feel safe and secure. Fist in hand, Captain America promises that they are going to "put a team of Bad-Asses together."
In issue 2 we find out just how Hulk has become a vampire - the somewhat lame and slightly disgruntled Bruce Banner/Hulk clone rebelled and left the compound, and fell right into the hands of the vampires, who turned him. Of course, they did not realize he had a tracking device inside of him. Soon, the whole team is in the sewers trying to retrieve Hulk, and they fall right into a trap - the bait being the new Daredevil acting helpless and scared and then turning on ......The Captain! Captain America gets bit!!!! Oh no?!
Did I mention that the big boss of the vampires is wearing Iron Man's suit? (I thought he was just a creepy robot when he first showed up, but I checked and found out that nope, that's Iron Man.) All the Avengers are like, "Tony? What are you doing?" But it's not Tony, even though this person seem to fully know his way around the gadgets of the Iron Man outfit, and issue 3 opens with him using his force field to deflect the barrage of bullets coming at him from Hawkeye and Black Widow. The rest of the third issue felt a little slower to me than the first two. We have the escape of the vampires from their sewer home, and the Boss (Nick Fury is his name) realizing that all the trouble they've recently encountered is a result of having the Hulk around. And we have a whole slow story line of Captain America being taken back to The Triskelion to be operated on....a beautiful set-up for Blade to break in and shake us all back to our senses! "Locking Cap up with all these lovely Super People is exactly what the bad guys have been praying for...." Oh yeah! He's right! (Don't ya just love how Blade refers to them as "bad guys"? It's so general and non-descript. Love It.) Hurry...everyone run - uh-oh. Too late. Vampire Captain wakes up and bites Blade!!!! Now how does that work? He's already half vampire, right? To have that question alone answered is reason enough for me coming back for more! And all these hilarious drawings where each new hero gets bitten. I mean, just look at this picture of The Cap and Blade:
Oh man. It's so bad it's good. And it goes down smooth and easy - like chocolate. So what if it doesn't really have anything to do with the usual mythology of vampires. So what! It's a hilarious spin on two old things - vampires and super heroes - and it's the exact bloody thing I was looking for.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
-Nina Stone, 2010