With two issues out on the stands that I’ve yet to get around to, it looks like I’ve fallen behind once again my goal to provide a clear, academic exploration of the myriad questions raised in the pages of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter comics. And to be honest, it’s mostly because I haven’t wanted to actually go back and re-read these things, because
they are not very good that sort of research takes an awful lot of time.
After what I went through last week, though? Anita Blake oughtta be a walk in the park.
So please, grab a copy of your own and follow along as the award-winning* ISB Research Department tackles the mysteries of another issue of Anita Blake!
0.0: In this issue’s cover, artist Ron Lim has provided us with a striking image that not only calls to mind the classic “mother, maiden and crone” trichotomy and the Greek Moirae (or Fates), but also depicts a clear representation of the three most important elements of the Anita Blake saga thus far:
Sasha Fierce, Spider-Man’s kindly Aunt May, and Eddie from Iron Maiden.
1.1: When we last left Anita, she was hanging around in Aunt May’s basement asking questions for what felt like somewhere around thirty-six years. Sharp-eyed readers may note that despite what it might say on the cover, this is neither hunting nor particularly vampiric, but since it is in fact the most exciting thing to happen in the series so far, I guess it counts as a cliffhanger.
Aunt May never explains how to capture souls in a bottle, a procedure with which the Research Department is also sadly unfamiliar. For more information on how to catch Time in a Bottle, however, feel free to consult singer-songwriter Jim Croce.
2.3: For those of you who were running a betting pool, it’s exactly two pages, three panels into the third issue that necrophiliac sex slavery becomes a plot point:
2.7: In this panel, it’s revealed that Aunt May took money from the families of her Zuvembi Prostitutes to do that voodoo that she do because, and I quote, “It is illegal to tamper with dead bodies without permission of the family.” So, to review: Digging up a corpse and chopping off a chicken’s head with a machete to bring it back to life without a signed permission slip? Against the law. Selling sentient rotting corpses as sex slaves? That’s apparently just fine.
4.1: In this panel, we’re reminded in a caption that “White Goat” is a euphemism for “human sacrifice.” You know, just in case you forgot from when it was explained in the last issue, or if you couldn’t infer the meaning for yourself four panels later when Anita spells it out for the third time. Anita Blake: For the Urban Fantasy Reader with the Memory of a Goldfish!
4.4.: Hey Anita! Which one of the fake trailers from Grindhouse was your favorite?
That’s funny, I would’ve pegged you as a Machete fan.
5.1 – 7.3: Over the course of the next few pages, Anita and Aunt May snipe at each other verbally, with Anita heroically threatening to shoot an old lady, and the septugenarian in question threatening to strike back. And judging from the way she calls Anita “chica” seven times in eight pages, we can only assume that her response will involve her long-standing tag-team partner Kevin Nash, and perhaps the rest of the nWo.
7.4: If I may be allowed to overstep my position as a humble annotator for a moment, I’ve got to say that this issue of LJF’s ABVHLC: B1 is a little confusing, specifically as it treats Aunt May, who seems a little out of character. As a solution, I’d suggest that the creative team took a few steps to tie it in a little closer to the core Marvel Brand:
9.1: One of the primary rules of visual storytelling is “show, don’t tell,” although judging from the steering wheel scene last issue, it’s one that the world of Anita Blake has long since abandoned. Still, this scene, in which Anita, Manny, and Manny’s Moustache are harried by an unseen creature in the shadows of Aunt May’s basement, makes for a refreshing change of pace, as we’re neither shown nor told what the hell’s going on.
12.7: Hey, remember Harold Gaynor, the wheelchair-bound fetishist from the first issue? Well, he’s continuing his harassment of Anita by proxy, assigning one of his bodyguards to give her a stern talking-to. And just to prove he’s serious, he sent the guy who used to model for Rob Liefeld’s Captain America:
13.1: And once more for the full effect:
15.1: In this scene, Anita goes to a funeral. Because that’s what this book needs more of: Anita standing around not hunting vampires.
18.2: According to the dialogue, Anita’s supposed to be wearing coveralls in this scene, but if you ask me…
…that is totally a blue Adidas tracks suit. And I’ll tell you right now: If this book suddenly became about Anita resurrecting the spirits of Turbo and Ozone so that she could stop Harold Gaynor from demolishing the rec center and replacing it with a Zombie Sex Factory with the power of breakdancing, it would suddenly become one of the best comics ever.
Seriously, Marvel. Call me.
22.: Oh yeah, this guy?
That guy is totally not making it out of the series alive.
He’s one of the lucky ones.