It’s been a few weeks since a new issue of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake comic has come across the desk here at the ISB Research Department, and as shocking as it is for me to admit it, I think I’ve actually missed having it around.
I believe this is what psychologists refer to as “Stockholm Syndrome.”
Alas, the brief reprieve is now over, and while the comics industry’s need for paranormal sex mysteries has already been filled by my own epic, The Chronicles of Solomon Stone, Anita Blake has returned for another round with a comic entitled–and I am serious–Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book Two: Necromancer #1.
Exactly why it needs a title of such alarming specificity is only one of the mysteries contained within, and so it’s time for the Research Department to take another crack at it! Grab your own copy and follow along!
0.0: In addition to the standard cover featuring Team Rocket’s Jean-Claude in all his wispy, sharp-chinned, pallid-as-a-bust-of-Pallas, poet-shirted “glory,” this issue of Anita Blake, like all Marvel comics this month, shipped with a special Wolverine variant:
Unlike the other Marvel books, however, this one also included the greatest cover blurb I have ever seen in my life:
You know, I’ve always thought it’d be easier to label the comics Wolverine doesn’t appear in, but I never thought they’d actually do it.
1.1: As ISB readers and fans of comics where absolutely nothing ever happens will no doubt be aware, this issue picks up right where the “cliffhanger” of the previous series left off. Why the quotes? Because while a zombie attack certainly qualifies as action, the tension is somewhat reduced when the zombie in question has lost both hands and most of its head.
1.3: The fact that it takes six policemen–or five policemen and what may in fact be Grant Morrison–to hold down zombie that has a grand total of zero hands, no teeth, and one leg may seem a little bizarre, until you recall that in the Anita Blake universe, the public trust is served by the Keystone Cops:
I guess this case is really gonna stump ‘em, huh?
… Okay, I apologize for that. Moving on.
2.5: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Anita Blake.
STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER.
All this, a mere two panels after a caption talking about how badly she wants to “crawl into someone’s lap and be comforted.”
3.2: And then she does laundry!
You know, that really is a lot more empowering than seeing her actually solving a mystery or extricating herself from a dangerous situation without being rescued by six men!
6.2-6.3: Okay, look. I’m not trying to overstep my bounds as an annotator by criticizing unnecessary dialogue or anything, but…
…what exactly is it about “I smelled corpses and it woke me up” requires further explanation? Especially considering that we, the readers, are already aware that Anita woke up when she smelled corpses, because it was in the last issue right there on the page. And yet, there’s an entire panel devoted to her clarifying her statement.
Actually, now that I think of it, why does this scene even exist at all? Is the thrill-a-minute intrigue of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter giving the police her statement really more relevant to the plot than, oh, I don’t know, vampire hunting?
6.4: Apparently so, because after a caption where Anita says “I told Dolph everything,” she continues to give her statement for three motherfucking pages.
9.5: I’ve gotta admit: Anita’s expression in this panel did make me laugh. And I’m even pretty sure it was on purpose!
Shame about the penguins, though. They really tied the room together.
10.1: You know, I’ve had my differences with the writing in this comic before, but I’m honestly glad to live in a world where you can write a sentence like “if we could prove he had knowingly caused the zombie to go ape-shit” and still get published. Seriously.
12.6: In this scene, Anita lays around in a bed and makes phone calls!
Specifically, she’s calling Irving, the Male Pattern Baldness Werewolf that went off with Jean-Claude the Master Vampire last issue, thus prompting this series to be officially rechristened as Anita Blake: Some Girl Who Knows a Guy Who Hung Out This One Time With a Vampire.
13.4: Finally, after the thrill-a-minute excitement of this issue’s dynamic Making Coffee and Checking Into a Hotel scenes, Anita actually does something!
She goes jogging.
Oh well. It’s a start.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahaha! Yeah. No kidding.
16.1: Huh. In this scene, Anita’s actually accosted by gun-toting thugs–which I think qualifies as something happening–and then she deals with them by being kind of tough and clever about it. It’s… confusing.
But not as confusing as what happens next.
That’s someone whose last name is “Sims” doing something awfully close to kicking someone in the face, and that’s… kind of awesome? Definitely confusing. If only there was something that could get this back on track…
19.4.: Oh, here we go!
Assuming she’s quoting Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry–which seems like a safe bet, since she drops a ham-handed reference to the same last issue–that is not the line. And not only is she getting the “quote” wrong, she’s getting the quote wrong on a line that every single person in America knows by heart. In fact, it’s the kind of line that you’d have to actively work to get wrong, like if she said “Use the Force, Bruce” or “You want the facts? You can’t handle the facts!”
And that’s Anita Blake, folks: Actively working to get it wrong.
(And I think you just found your pullquote for the next trade!)