Warning: These images are selected from the official release, and I'm using them solely for the purpose of reviewing. All rights belong to LKH and Marvel. Please don't hotlink to these images, but to the main page.
The Anita Blake series is one of several paranormal/urban fantasy series that recently got turned into comic books, and provided some prequel material for the fans. It got cancelled recently... but that's neither here nor there. The point is that The First Death was intended to show Anita's first assignment as a vampire hunter and how she got to know Edward and Jean-Claude. We were supposed to see Anita as a wide-eyed green rookie who was just figuring out the ropes.
Well, it's a lot less impressive than it sounds. Edward immediately hops onto the fanboy train, Jean-Claude's appearance is ridiculously pointless, and Anita acts exactly the same as she does in Guilty Pleasures. She's also ridiculously ineffectual during the climax.
But anyway, on to the fun ride that is The First Death.
"I vant to condition your hair!"
Wow. Where do I start?
- I'm assuming that Jean-Claude's weird devilish expression and hair-grabbing is meant to make him look like a master seducer contemplating how sexy and great Anita is. But honestly, it just makes him look like a malevolent hairdresser thinking about brutally lopping off her split ends.
- Anita is wearing a leather jacket with fringe. I'll just let that speak for itself.
- What the hell is up with Jean-Claude's legs? I'm pretty sure that half the muscles on his upper thighs and crotch don't actually exist in the human anatomy (and by extension the vampire anatomy). Also, those are some childbearing hips he's got - he looks very thin and lithe from the waist up, and suddenly below the waist he's almost as wide as Anita.
- And why is ANITA wearing skintight pants too? Allegedly she's this manly butch macho girl who doesn't care about clothes, so why would she wear pants that restrict movement?
- And where the hell are they? What are those stupid pieces of cloth behind them? Are they in a tent, or is it laundry day at the vampire strip club?
- Whew. Anyway, on to the comic.
We open with Anita looking at the corpse of a little boy, and monologuing enough to make your brain bleed. She also immediately sabotages the title by contemplating that
... so, in other words, this ISN'T the first death she's encountered professionally, as the title would imply. It's at least the seventh, and probably way more than that since this is only the seventh dead KID she's seen. Sheesh, one panel in and already I've found something to mock.
Oh, and the kid in question is kind of weirdly posed. For some reason, his hand is sticking straight up in the air like so
as if he's specifically trying to hold it up dramatically so Anita can look at it. It's extra weird because said kid looks very peaceful, as dead people go. Yeah, I'd expect somebody who just had his throat torn out to look at least a little more upset. Anyway, Anita is apparently surprised by this.
... or maybe she's just shocked by the fact that her hair is sprouting tentacles.
Incidentally, Anita is surrounded by dozens of men (competent female cops and medics don't exist in the Anitaverse), including a guy in the background who appears to be doing the funky chicken, and some other guys who are apparently just standing in the grass and doing nothing. Your tax dollars at work, folks!
Then some guy named Zerbrowski appears behind Anita and asks if she's going to puke on the body again. Anita seems more interested in staring at her own hand, presumably because she is so awesome that she amazes even herself.
Well, she pukes, but not ON the actual body.
Yes, clearly this was an important moment in the series.
I also want to know what's going on with the art here, because these panels are really bad. One of the cops appears to have only one arm, and another one has... either no head or just a brownish glob on top of his torso with no neck in between. He's also brandishing a stick at Anita for some reason, possibly because he has no eyes.
Also, where is Anita puking? It looks like she's vomiting over a cliff or something, but I honestly can't tell if those spiky green shapes in front of her are meant to be trees or grass or whatever.
Since in LKH's view, cops are all sexist jellus pigs who hate Anita for having a vagina, two of them start sneering at her.
For some reason, in the Anitaverse cops and military guys are never smacked down with lawsuits for making blatantly discriminatory comments about women and minorities, mainly because Anita can't rage against the machine if the machine doesn't allow blatant sexism. And since our heroine is supposed to be a smart awesome take-charge woman who can take care of herself, she has to be rescued by a man. A man who's apparently eight feet tall.
I feel my feminist sentiments exploding like the Death Star even as we speak. Yaaayyyy for a woman who can take care of herself and defend her own honor.
Anyway, Dolph sends the little meanie-mean cops a-scuttling away, and Anita immediately starts whining about how horrible it all is. Dolph asks her what she thinks, and she wangsts about how it was "the most horrible thing I'd ever seen in my life" and how it makes her want to run away screaming. So she makes a dramatic face to show that this is very sad and tragic, and announces the bleedin' obvious.
And this is why they pay her the big bucks. Okay, a few points.
- Apparently this is just the latest in a string of serial killings of pretty little boys by a vampire. The problem is that the dead kid we see is... well, pretty standard for visual vampire kills. There's blood, his throat has been attacked, and not much else has happened. Was the first dead kid stabbed with a toothpick, if this is soooooo dramatically awful?
- For the record, Anita is not a cop... no matter how much LKH tries to convince us otherwise. She's basically hired by the cops to occasionally come to crime scenes and tell them her "expert" opinion since she's supposed to be the best vampire expert in the history of the world, even though vampires have not only existed for as long as the human race but have been legal citizens for years now.
- So what does Anita's expert knowledge provide us with? Uhhhhhh... "he's getting more savage with each kill." Yeah, I bet the cops are SO glad that they dragged her emo ass out there so she could vomit on the crime scene and tell them what random bystanders would have known.
- Speaking of which, I'd also like to point out that this is some of the better artwork of Anita Blake comics, but it's still fairly laughable - Anita looks like a mallgoth teenager with a curl hanging down in front of her nose.
Dolph agrees with Point #2, and tells her that
which would be slightly more impressive if Anita ever actually showed any insight into how vampires think. For that matter, in a world where vampires actually exist, why wouldn't a cop be schooled in this sort of thing? Wouldn't it be par for the course in the police to study the psychology of paranormal creatures so they don't have to constantly drag in an idiot like Anita?
So Anita starts bleating that, "I don't know what you mean by that, Sergeant Storr," which is a common refrain for Anita, since she never understands what people mean on the first try and never foresees anything. Dolph keeps reiterating that he needs her to tell him something that they might have missed... which is kind of ridiculous because there ISN'T anything they've missed. Anita is completely superfluous to this investigation. He also strokes her ego by announcing that she knows more about monsters than anyone there. Let's see if that's true.
Anita protests that she's not the only vampire executioner in town... which raises two questions.
- Why don't we ever see or hear of any in St. Louis except her and her mentor?
- If she's such a Squeamish Sue, why does she chop off heads for a living? Why is she an executioner at all? What is her motivation? Is she doing this for any reason other than "Vampire Hunter" sounds badass?
- It's like LKH forgot to mention some vital pieces of information here.
Dolph agrees that she isn't, buuuuuutttttt....
HOLY CRAP what is up with Dolph's head? It seems to be getting tinier and denser. It's way smaller than Anita's. Is this guy secretly Bruce Banner?
Anyone who has actually read the rest of the series - including the rest of THIS story - knows that Anita does pretty much the opposite of what people say. In fact in this very story, they call her in to slooooowwwwllly saw off the head of a vampire... that the cops gift-wrapped for her. And when she DOES try to hunt vampires, she gets her ass handed to her and can only escape with the help of a much more competent man.
... so he says to the woman who later acquires a harem
Yeah, the attitude in this series is that you can only catch bad guys effectively if you're totally inhuman, isolated from everybody, and basically a total sociopath. Except for Anita, who is inhuman, a sociopath AND has a harem, because she's awesomer than everyone else.
Then the rest of the page is devoted to Zerbrowski turning up and making some not-very-witty remarks, and Dolph shooting him down. Filler: We haz it!
So then we're dragged back to the corpse so Anita can find something, ANYTHING, that the cops haven't found and thus justify her even being in this sucky comic. We are five pages in, and Anita has done nothing but puke and make funny faces. In fact, even when she arrives at the corpse she just rolls her eyes and looks away,
Very professional, isn't she? She just crosses her arms and looks AWAY from the corpse, while saying the exact drivel that she said before, only more detailed. She still isn't convincing us that she's Teh Awsum Vampiyah Expert.
Dolph actually asks the first intelligent question of the entire story thus far:
The answer, by the way, is YES. Lycanthropes WOULD help a vampire do this, since apparently being bitten by a werewhatever or a vampire immediately makes you a kinky sex freak with a penchant for nasty stuff done to bishies that Anita wants.
And before you start thinking that maybe we're getting some real information, note that Anita's answer doesn't actually answer his question. She's just rambling about how she doesn't "BELIEVE" that vampire fangs could cause that much damage. And Zerbrowski instantly poohpoohs her "expert" comment by saying that he's seen what human teeth can do to flesh, which icks out Anita. Yeah, she knows everything there is to know about vampires - she doesn't even know if they could have done this crime.
Anita Blake: Most Useless Expert Ever!
LKH tries to salvage her Sue's unwarranted reputation as a badass by having Zerbrowski question that the "tough as nails" vampire hunter is all icked out. This would be a nice opportunity to remind us that Anita's supposed to be inexperienced and new at this sort of thing... so of course LKH doesn't do that. Instead, Anita comes up with this little lame excuse.
- Maybe I'm not the sooper-awesome expert on the undead, but how is it worse to see a "fresh" body than a rotting disgusting smelly decayed one that is no more than a grotesque parody of a person once living?
- Half a page was devoted to this incredibly boring and pointless conversation. A quarter of the page was devoted to Anita saying one line. Now I'm no Linkara, but something seems off here.
- "Zombies are so not fresh!" I think Mr. Shakespeare can calm down, because clearly LKH is not infringing on his turf.
Then Anita apparently has a spaz attack and starts whining hard enough to shatter glass. I imagine her talking in a sort of nasal drone that gets higher when she's upset.
Anita: allegedly more hardcore and kickass than the cops
Yeah, she's an awesome expert who knows everything about vampires and lycanthropes. Again, this could have been a nice touch by showing us Anita before she became so jaded that she couldn't give a crap about the people killed by vampires and wherewhatevers.... but we're not told in any way that this squeamishness might be due to inexperience. And honestly, if this woman is too squeamish to show up at a crime scene without trying to run away, why are people implying that she's super-tough and experienced? This makes no fucking sense!
To further reinforce that this is a really, really shitty comic, we then spend another half a page on almost no dialogue. And what little there is is POINTLESS.
And what is the scintillating reply to Anita's remark as she does ballet poses?
In the original draft, there were six more pages of:
Sigh. And I actually had someone question why I hated LKH's work.
So Dolph points out that Evil Vampire will kill another kid, and Zerbrowski inexplicably tells him to just let Anita stomp away. Which means it's time for.... INNER MONOLOGUE. Yaaaaaayyyy. Wooooowwww. I missed that pretentious monologue so much.
Is there any reason LKH put this in the comic book except that it sounded cool and therefore must be shoehorned in at the expense of actual content? Answer: No. Yes, it's kind of cool. But it has nothing to do with this moronic comic book! NOTHING!
This sounds much more dramatic if you don't know that ALL vampires are now awake in that area.
Also, is it somehow worse if a serial killer is a woman? Apparently Anita finds it infinitely more horrifying to contemplate an evil FEMALE vampire than an evil MALE one. I'm not sure which sex this is more offensive towards.
So Anita turns around and walks back, thus rendering the last page entirely pointless. Then she rambles about how vampires usually kill someone with a gun or a knife... which totally sucks the cool right out of them. What is the point of being a fucking vampire if you kill people with a knife? Why even bother writing about vampires if they use knives and guns? "I'm evil Count Dracula, and if you don't do as I say I shall SHOOT YOU!" She also announces that obviously, because this vampire used fangs, he is much cooler than her lameass ones trying to show off.
And again, she's saying the bleedin' obvious. If the MO of most vampires is guns and knives, Dolph should know that. He should be able to see what is going on here. THAT IS WHAT COPS DO. They don't call in civilian consultants to tell them what they already know!
In fact, this is such bullshit that even Anita calls the author out on this:
When your own Mary Sue is criticizing your lazy storytelling, you know you have a problem. Also, what is that strange black tentacle creeping out of Anita's lower lip? It looks like a grasshopper is crawling in or out of her mouth.
At this point, LKH realizes that seven pages have gone by and JACK SHIT has actually happened. I mean, this comic is like trying to read Ulysses - it just goes on and on with nothing you'd actually want to read until you want to stab yourself in the head with a butter knife. And then she introduces her very first glaring error.
Wow, I wouldn't have known they were being watched unless Anita told us twice. Thanks, editorial department.
Also, this whole thing sounds very sinister, but it makes no sense. The sun set only SECONDS ago, which we know because LKH just had to tell us about Anita's awesome sun-sensing powahz. Yet apparently some vampire is awake, alert, got dressed, left his house, immediately located a crime scene, and went skulking in the bushes to watch... IN MERE SECONDS. How did he do that?!
- Is Anita about to trip over the corpse? Or dance over it? What is she doing?!
- Where the hell did that tiny bush come from?
- A fun continuing characteristic of the series is that Anita is depicted as a genius... because everybody else is even stupider than her. Dolph and Zerbrowski don't seem to remember that, uh, when somebody is watching you, it doesn't mean that you have to see them too. Most BABIES figure that out.
Yeah, another half a page devoted to people bickering about the fine points of language. BORING.
Also, given that they're at a vampire crime scene and there's a vampire skulking around watching them, shouldn't Dolph take out, uh, a GUN? He looks very relaxed, under the circumstances!
Yup, after that we get another rambling page where people just sorta sit around there and talk a lot.
“I can't tell you anything about it, but it's... close." "Thanks, that really helps."
Okay, I just had to note the incredibly weird background art in this picture.
- I presume that is the city of St. Louis in the background there, what with the buildings and stuff. But the weird way it's arranged and sized makes it look suspiciously like it's about twelve feet tall, compared to the trucks and people standing nearby.
- Dolph is getting bigger. I'm afraid. Mommy, save me!
- What the hell is up with that sky?! It looks like someone vomited blue paint across the night sky. I guess that's what the artist thinks an evening sky looks like... but it isn't. The color change is too abrupt, there's no warm tones, there's there strange blobs in the sky, and it becomes strangely uneven over the city.
Anita points out that the vampire is "near" the cars, and Dolph demonstrates his idiocy by announcing that they should keep anyone from leaving the area via the roads. Yeah, that will keep the vampire from walking away... presumably the same way it came there. Then he offers to walk Anita to her car, which makes no sense -- if the vampire is near the cars, how is it better to sit alone near it?!
... so vampires are like the Jedi? Kewl.
Anyway, this is like Anita's sun-sensing power - filler material that sounds cool but isn't really ever explored in this comic book. It's LKH going "see? See? I came up with awesome shit and you will LISTEN to characters exposit on it!"
So Anita and Dolph stroll casually down to where the cops are....
... apparently wandering casually around the road, where there is apparently a traffic jam. And what appears to be flying green chiles in the sky. Plus, where are these people coming from?! There seems to be a LOT of traffic for the buttcrack of dawn, doesn't there?
Anyway, as you can see, Anita sits there jabbering about "tasting" the vampire's power and wondering if he's powerful. And then... she sees him. Yeah, another giant panel wasted on trying to magically sense a guy who's sitting out in the open, and which Anita finds in no time at all. Tension: u failz at it.
Also, the vampire is Billy Idol.
You know, given that he's the only colorless person there except Anita, you would think people would have figured out that he's a vampire. What does this guy need to do, wear a black cape and splatter himself with blood? Stalk white-gowned virgins? Hang upside down and talk in a Transylvanian accent? And since Anita has magical mystical powers, she alone can point out that the silent dead-pale guy is a vampire. She's still not impressing me.
And you can also tell that he's not the serial killer because instead of making a big deal about his dangerous evil self, he just looks bored.
Apparently Anita has never learned basic manners, because she points and squeals, "There he is." Amazingly, the vampire doesn't hear her - he just keeps looking bored out of his gourd.
Apparently Hamilton's vampires can "smell" sex or anything connected to it, are magical telepaths, can fly, can control people by LOOKING at them, and basically develop Suey powers whenever she wants them. These people are basically demigods. But they can't hear two people talking in totally normal voices (no dotted lines, so it isn't a whisper) about six feet behind them. I have some relatives like that.
And since we can't have any real tension here, the vampire is actually cooperating with the cops quite nicely. He hasn't done anything wrong, and if you think about it, this is actually rather discriminatory. Logically speaking, this guy can't be the murderer because the sun has been up for like two minutes WHICH MEANS HE SHOULDN'T BE HERE AT ALL, meaning the kid has to have been killed several hours ago. Hot damn, this is a shitty comic.
Which one is WHAT? I can only assume that there was a bunch of boring dialogue that was cut, and LKH neglected to cut this line! The lines before this one are "Don't spook him" and "Sorry!"
And as an example of LKH's rich and vivid descriptions, she has Anita tell us that she can't tell us what she sees when she sees a vampire, thus reaffirming that this comic sucks.
Yet somehow authors like Jim Butcher can explain spells, the Sight, visions, out-of-body experiences.... but LKH can't explain a feeling.What's more, she actually devotes multiple panels to her authorial defects.
Anyway, the vampire mentions he works at Guilty Pleasures, which basically means he's a stripper. In the Anitaverse, the only well-adjusted vampires and weres are strippers, and of course none of them come to any messy ends or get addicted to drugs or anything like that. No, being a stripper is way better than having a lasting secure job. And VampStripperIdol also mentions that he lives nearby and just came by to see what was going on. This is absolute bullcrap, because we've seen wide shots of the area from several angles and there are no buildings.
Anyway, Anita and Dolph are STILL doing the"Is he a vampire?" "Yup." "You certain?" "Positive." "He's a real vampire, not a wannabe?" "Real." "And you're certain about that?" "I'm certain." "How can you tell?" "I just can." "And you're certain?" "Positive" dance. I have the feeling that if LKH were allowed to run rampant, they would have done this for five pages.
Speaking of bullcrap....
Have I mentioned what a headache the YAABIs are? Okay, this is the indication that vampires are supposed to have super-senses... rather selective ones, since they're never flattened by a car alarm or an elevator fart or really bright lights. Yet somehow, this guy DIDN'T have vampiric hearing ONE PAGE AGO when Anita was loudly talking just a few feet behind him, and yet somehow he didn't notice?
Also, what is that cop behind him doing? Is he blowing his nose? What is that?
Since Dolphis a dunce, he asks the obvious "Super-sensitive hearing?" question, which just further reinforces that LKH doesn't have a fucking clue how cops operate. They don't deal with dangerous people by not even finding out BASIC information. This is not obscure vampire lore that nobody except the great Anita knows! This is the most basic tell-your-four-year-old crap! In a semi-realistic series, Dolph would know MORE than Anita, not less - and he would certainly know the very basic stuff like "they have super-senses!"
And finally we actually get a semi-cool image...
... which is slightly undercut by the fact that they say "Yes" separately, which is redundant. It's cooler if they say it in unison. Also that cop photobombing this picture is really distracting, and Anita's face tentacle is apparently growing.
And so everybody around them reacts in the natural, normal fashion to hearing that someone has super-sensitive hearing... the civilians start running and the cops all draw their guns. Because nothing is more terrifying than being around someone who can literally hear a pin drop. I know that nothing terrifies me like great hearing... except perhaps a great sense of smell. KILL THE GUY WITH AWESOME HEARING! KILL HIM! DESTROY IT WITH FIIIIIIREEEEEE!
Where was I?
Oh yeah, this:
- "This is not the vampire you're looking for." "This is not the vampire we're looking for." "I can go about my business." "You can go about your business." "Move along." "Move along..."
- This appears to be a feeble attempt to introduce some tension into the story, but this guy still hasn't done anything to actually make anyone threaten him. You gotta love how relaxed and casual he is!
- And what's the fricking point of aiming guns at him? He's a VAMPIRE.
Then Dolph spends another panel asking the guy for his address while Anita monologues. I would like to point out that this entire page has been a total waste of time - sure the half-face thing was a bit cool, but this whole page was basically devoted to... saying he has good hearing. And OH SHIT we're not even halfway done!
So the cops start harassing the poor vampire guy who has literally done nothing but cooperate with them.
Mr. Adam? Don't vampires get family names? And is that vampire winking or something? What the hell happened to his eyes? And why does his hair keep changing styles between scenes?
Also, Zerbrowski is now officially a dumbass. Uh, loitering with intent? Hello, they're STOPPING people and forcing them to stay put. If he tried to leave, you'd assume he was guilty and start shooting your little boomboom sticks.
Anyway, the vampire says that he knows his rights and that he's not going to the station to answer questions. And given the stable and tolerant manner they've treated him thus far, I can't blame him. This is Anita's cue to go ABSOLUTELY APESHIT and start threatening to kill the guy for absolutely no reason at all. That's right: she threatens to KILL him on the flimsiest of flimsy evidence.
That's right, tiny green floaty thing! I'm talking to you!
Our heroine, ladies and gents. She blackmails innocent people with threats of death with no foundation. Let's all swoon at how awesome she is.
By the way, there is absolutely no basis in Anita's shrill little insistence that "You're the only vampire I see near the body!" Hello, it's like five minutes after sunset, and the boy has apparently been there ALL DAY since the previous NIGHT. The killer could be in another CITY by now, meaning this guy is no more likely a suspect than any other vampire in the country. And given the shitty way the cops were treating him, I can't blame him for being reluctant.
And then Anita starts sneering, "Great, a vampire stripper." Of course, half those strippers will later end up in bed with her, so the contempt seems misplaced. Also, the sky inexplicably turns from dark blue to light blue.
And so after thirteen-pages of pulse-pounding... er, talking, we switch over to Dead Dave's, a bar run by a vampire. He was apparently a cop until he was turned into a vampire, and thus got drummed off the force. Right, because the cops WOULDN'T want an unkillable superstrong super-sense-having cop doing the really dangerous stuff. They would HATE that. Riiiiight.
And since Anita is a pretty racist person, she decides that all vampires are alike and thus she can get into Adam's head via another vampire. If I were Dead Dave, I'd smack her filler-swollen lips to the other side of her head.
It's also damn stupid. "Hi Dave, I want you to tell me if this vampire you're never met and don't know is lying about serial killings that he could only have possibly done one of. You're a vampire, so you must KNOW."
- This makes Dead Dave about a thousand times cooler and more interesting than Anita.
- The sentence fragments, they BURN.
- So why isn't he a cop now, if he isn't legally dead? And how come, if vampires have ALWAYS existed in this world, different definitions of "life" weren't created from the beginning of civilization? THIS IS SUCH BULLSHIT.
Thank you, Chris Sims. Now I want to take this picture and painstakingly photoshop a penis into Anita's hand. After all, later in the series that's pretty much all she pays attention to.
Since we weren't bored enough yet, LKH spends a page on DD's vague backstory, small talk, and the fact that Anita apparently doesn't drink alcohol for reasons that aren't even explained. Yes, we care deeply that she apparently won't drink vodka. Someone please kill me.
Dave apologizes for creeping Anita out, and she makes another wonderfully tolerant and open-minded remark,"You're a vampire. You can't help it." I can see why the vampires just LOVE her. That's another half a page down the toilet, including a whole page-wide panel of Dave grinning and quoting Popeye. Meanwhile, Anita's facial curl is reaching tentacle hentai proportions.
So Anita asks what Guilty Pleasures is, apparently because the phone book has too many big words for her to look it up. DD says that it's a "freak fest" strip club, where everybody is a vampire or werethingy and the customers are human. This explanation takes up almost half the page. Pass the vodka Anita's not drinking, because I need it.
Anyway, she mentions that the cops want her to observe them when they question vampires, even though her contribution at the crime scenes is.... absolutely nil. Seriously, what can she possibly contribute? All she knows is the most basic of vampire trivia, and she seems more interested in grandstanding than in actually finding the guilty party. She seems to have already decided who she wants to be guilty.
Dead Dave is understandably pissed at helping the cops even secondhand, because as usual all humans are evil and prejudiced against the poor weres and vampires (of course, no vampire or were has any prejudices themselves! Just the humans). That's really stupid, becauseno matter how dumb and illogical it is, people will jump on ANY BANDWAGON that goes by. F'rinstance, Twilight has demonstrated that stupid shallow people would run to embrace vampires in a HEARTBEAT even if they are abusive wussified assholes. I find it hard to believe that Hollywood, the modeling industry and youth culture wouldn't LEAP at the chance to get on the vampire bandwagon.
Since Anita is always the most discriminated against, she jumps on the "me too, I'm so discriminated against!" train, and contradicts what she said ONE PANEL AGO.
So in one panel Anita is talking about how the police "want" her to come along, and literally in the NEXT SENTENCE she's moaning about how she had to PERSUADE them to LET them TAKE her along. This makes no sense. The sheer incomprehensibility is making my brain bleed.
So then Dead Dave refers to her as a zombie queen and a witch, and Anita gets all prickly and says, "I'm not a witch. I'm a Christian!" Of course, she worships at the Church of the Divine Anita, wherein you worship God so long as he doesn't actually expect you to follow any Christian teachings or rules. Also, in a world where psychic powers are as concrete as all the rest like vampires and werewhatevers, wouldn't you expect the word "witch" to either be assigned to Wiccans/neopagans or to psychic practitioners, but not both?
... OH SHIT. The scene STILL isn't over.
There's another page devoted to Anita paying for her orange juice and talking about Jean-Claude, epic manslut and manager of the vampire strip club. Oh yes, and the master of the city cares deeply about his love life, which is never explained either.
Dead Dave also shows that his vampire abilities include: breaking the fourth wall!
Dead Dave's place has a lot of people with bright electric yellow hair. I guess the look is popular among vampires.
Thankfully that totally pointless scene finally ends, and leaves me wishing that somebody would get poor Dead Dave a transfer to a cooler comic book. Now it's time for Anita's awesome detecting skillz, which undoubtedly will clarify what the hell is going on here.
... because vampire strippers are so different from regular ones. Naked is naked.
.... what the hell? THIS IS SUCH BULLSHIT. It makes NO sense.
I could understand asking Jean-Claude about the vampire's alibi, even though simple logic tells us that he almost certainly wasn't the bad guy. But deducing that he might be the killer based on the fact that his sex life has somehow offended the Master of the City, since apparently any kind of "bad boy" is the same as another? Where the hell did THAT theory come from?!
And since filler is the name of the game, we're treated to almost a full page of badge-flashing as Anita and Dolph deal with a security guy (or else some dude with a "Security" T-shirt who just likes to order people around) and some cross-check lady wearing a boob shirt (since obviously vampire employees can't dress professionally). And by "deal with," I mean "stand around looking constipated."
.Out of context, that line is SO funny. Also, what's up with Dolph's case of Liefeld's Disease?
At this point, we hear more of Anita's pretentious internal monologue. Apparently even though we're actually SEEING her getting info from Dead Dave, she's trying to bullshit us by claiming that she's sooper-knowledgeable.
If you knew what it was, you dumb skank, then how come we had an ENTIRE SCENE devoted to Dead Dave infodumping about it? Stop pretending that you're some sort of expert on the vampire underground when you don't even know what the local businesses are! ARG MY BRAIN!
Anyway, we also get a glimpse of the kinky goings-on at Guilty Pleasures... which are actually not kinky at all. Or naked. Don't strippers usually have to get naked before people put money in their skivvies?
Tonight, we DINE.... ON TOURISTS!
Anyway, we're then introduced to Jean-Claude, who owns the club and a wide array of very effeminate revealing clothes, including an open lacy poet's shirt in this picture. And in this comic, he often looks like a young Barbra Streisand in a brunette wig. He also has a cross scar on his chest (wouldn't a cross scar still harm a vampire, since it's cross-shaped?), a hair tentacle that is EXACTLY like Anita's, and hair right out of a Pantene commercial. In short, he's so wonderfully masculine that he makes Lestat look like a grunting he-man.
Also, the strippers clearly aren't doing their jobs right. Not only are they not naked, but everybody in the club seems to be looking in different directions.
... and just why the hell is prettyboy here looking up at the ceiling? Isn't he supposed to be looking at Anita?
Then for some reason Anita is pretending that she's a police officer. No, I don't know why, and we never find out - for some reason Dolph expects her to lie about it, presumably so we can waste another page on ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Jean-Claude calls Dolph out by saying, "I smell a lie, Sergeant Storr. Whatever could you be hiding?" which would be slightly more impressive if he hadn't LET THEM KNOW he knew they were lying.
By the way, both Anita and JC's curls are growing to hentai proportions again.
So Dolph admits who Anita is, which basically renders the last half page MEANINGLESS. And JC hops on the "let's stroke Anita's massive ego" bandwagon:
Granted, we hardly ever see any evidence that she IS fierce or that she earned her reputation as Baddest Ass In The Whole World, and we certainly don't see any in THIS comic book. In fact, Anita is pathetically ineffectual in all the comic books I've seen thus far... she has ONE scene in three books' worth of comics where she kicks any amount of ass.
Anita claims that vampires don't fear any humans, and Jean-Claude poohpoohs this moment of humility by claiming that all vampires fear HER. Out of the entire world's population, she's supposed to be the scariest and most terrifying person to the Big Scary Vampires. Why are they scared of her?
Maybe they're afraid her hair tentacle will come to life and rape/strangle them?
This claim is especially stupid because this is the comic book where we're introduced to Edward, a fun-loving assassin who specializes in... guess what, vampires and weres. Now I could understand HIM being terrifying to them because at this point, he kicks ass with a FLAMETHROWER. Anita, on the other hand, just sort of schlumps around after the cops making funny faces.
Oh yes, and Jean-Claude calls Anita "ma petite" for the first chronological time. Yeah, it's pretty gagworthy, and rather weird since he's complaining about her - does he use cloying little nicknames for everybody he's criticizing?
- Why is it somehow praiseworthy to "hunt down" vampires instead of staking them in their coffins? That's like saying the police are wusses if they arrest a dangerous criminal at their house at night instead of waiting for them to get up and leave, because it doesn't involve the "skill" of a car chase. It makes logical sense to deal with criminals in whatever way is easiest, cleanest and involves the least amount of danger, not whatever way is most dangerous and likely to let the criminal escape.
- Not to mention that if you're executing someone, it's really sick and twisted to do it in such a way that the executionee is experiencing as much pain and fear as possible. Does LKH also believe that people who give lethal injections to murderers should be required to chase the criminal around the prison, The Most Dangerous Prey-style?
- Why is he suddenly fanging out? He was calm a second ago, and in the next panel he's equally calm looking. Yet in-between he's making Cackling Villain faces!
- Uh, we've seen one dancer and he didn't look terrified. Or naked. Why would Anita terrify them, since apparently nobody knows what the Sooper-Famous "Executioner" looks like?
- Once again, we have LKH telling instead of showing. She keeps telling us that Anita is the Baddest Ass from Badassville where the Asskicking tribe drinks fresh-squeezed kickass juice, ninjas creep everywhere and Chuck Norris looks like the skinny pasty nerd kid. But this far we've established that she's squeamish with dead bodies, and... uh... nothing. What's worse, the rest of the comic book shows us that Anita is possibly the least badass character in the whole SERIES. At least until Nathaniel and Micah come onto the scene.
Somebody needs to tell LKH that comics are a visual medium. We're supposed to be able to be able to figure out how the characters feel WITHOUT this sort of cheesy simile.
Then for some reason Anita asks where Jean-Claude got the cross scar on his pasty chest, and HOLY CRAP what a stupid looking shirt. I know Hamilton refers to him as looking masculine, but the only masculine thing in that picture is the absence of boobies. Also his pectoral muscles look weird, almost too big.
JC tells her to look at him, and Anita snipes, "Number one rule: never look a vampire in the eyes. Try again."
So. Much. Stupid. Maybe I'm not the reigning queen of police procedure, but I'm pretty sure cops take (not "make") notes of things like alibis, numbers and people's names, not stuff they should ALREADY KNOW AAAARRRGGGHHHHHH. There is no excuse for this kind of stupidity - I could understand if vampires' EXISTENCE had just been revealed to the public, and thus the police didn't know much about them. But in this fictional world, the vampires have ALWAYS existed and everybody has ALWAYS known about them. It's like saying that the cops are clueless about the mafia and need "experts" to tip them off.
"Then I'll get a restraining order on you, asshole." But of course, since Jean-Claude is the "sexy" vampire, Anita won't do any such thing. Instead she has a bitchfit, slapping away his hand and yelling, "Don't touch me, ever! I'm out of here."
Also, note the official image of JC.
Apparently the ultimate portrait of male attractiveness is.... basically Anita minus the tatas and the lipstick. They even have the same curl, the same hair, the same basic facial features, the same skin tone.... I mean, isn't anyone going to run a medical checkup on this woman? Her skin is the same color as that of DEAD PEOPLE. My toilet paper has more color than her.
So Anita starts stomping out of the lobby, and Dolph runs after her, and Security T-shirt Dude staggers back in amazement at the fact that anyone is actually leaving the building. Dude, if you keep gawping at the people who are LEAVING, you're gonna have people sneaking past your steroid-soaked butt to get IN. Actually, why do they need a bouncer at a strip club?
Actually, Guilty Pleasures is such a bad strip club that I can't understand why anyone is there at all. Not only do the strippers apparently not get naked (they just dress like minor characters from Gladiator), but the place is decorated in a ridiculously opulent style, with big wide-bordered carpets, drapes everywhere and wall moldings. I'm sorry, but this place isn't high-end enough to look this nice... okay, scratch that, I just realized that half the drapes are animal prints. Sorry LKH, but there's no way to make animal prints classy and timeless unless they are on the animal. This place looks like it was designed by the Kardashians.
So Anita is sooper-dooper angry... and by "angry," I mean she's opening her mouth a little wider than usual. Her actual expression doesn't change at all, suggesting to me that she's been Botoxed above the neck. It might explain her detective skills.
And she throws a bitchfit at Dolph when he grabs her arm:
- Well, you dumb bint, maybe you should have MENTIONED that to Dolph before you came. You get no sympathy for what the Big Mean Cop does if you fail to tell him all pertinent information, then bitch about how mean he is because somehow you think he should have KNOWN.
- "How dare you not take into account something I didn't tell you! Clearly you were using me as bait!"
- Random infodump iz random.
- And this is the sort of thing you're supposed to tell the cops for their good as well as yours. He's supposed to be interviewing a suspect, albeit a ridiculously contrived one. Yet apparently Anita doesn't think his investigation might be hampered by a vampire dribbling all over her, or else she knows but doesn't give a crap.
- In fact, why is Dumb Bint coming along at all? Apparently Dolph has dealt with Jean-Claude before without needing an "expert," so why is he bringing her along? What the hell does she contribute?
- "Bothered" and "fearful" are not the same thing, Dumb Bint. You can be bothered without being fearful - you can be bothered and pissed, bothered and annoyed, bothered and worried, bothered and disturbed....
- "Head big vampire hunter"? Who the hell talks like that? Aside from racist bitches... OHHHHHHH....
- And what is Anita looking at? She looks stoned out of her mind and her eyes are apparently rolling back into her head!
- And speaking of "head big vampire hunter," precisely how is Anita supposed to be that? She's supposed to be a relative noob at this stuff and is actually still working with a partner at this point. She's also supposed to be like twenty-three years old, meaning she just graduated from college a year ago, and she never leaves her city. Just how many criminal vampires ARE there in St. Louis?! And how many can one person with a full-time job kill in ONE YEAR?
- The answer is: of course, LKH cannot bring herself to have her Sue be anything but the biggest, baddest and most intimidating Expert In Everything... even at the start of her career.
- "Why would he do that?" Uh, Dumb Bint, he ignored The Hulk so he could kiss your enormous hamlike backside. Dolph could sit there interrogating him under bright lights and poking him with sharp objects, and he'd still ignore him because YOU have the magic vagina.
- Of course, Jean-Claude couldn't care less about trying take Anita over. He just wants to screw her like a power drill.
- Stupid comparison for a supposed expert, since if I recall correctly it's a CAPITAL OFFENSE to hypnotize people one-on-one in LKH's world. "No, officer, please! I just went five miles over the speed limit NO PLEASE DON'T AIEEEEEEEEEEEE SPLATSPLATSPLAT!"
And with absolutely NO WARNING, suddenly we jump not only back into Guilty Pleasures, but into an absurdly luxe back room. Only in one of Hamilton's stories can a strip club be nicer BEHIND the scenes than out in the area where actual people are. We're told that this is the "quiet room" which is "a place where the dancers can go to rest themselves." Yeah, because strip clubs have luxurious rec rooms for the strippers to lie around, relax, play chess, drink martinis, etc.
Up next: The First Death 1 Part 2 because this page is getting kinda bulky.