Finally, at long last, the fifteen-issue adaptation of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse has come to an end!
Well, if you want to get technical, it actually ended about three weeks ago, and while you’d think I would’ve been in a hurry to get this thing over with, the fact that they’ve already solicited the first issue of the next adaptation, Circus of the Damned (in which I assume Anita goes undercover as a healthy-thighed Jugalette) has once again recast my efforts as
a round of Sisyphean masochism an academic pursuit that continues to take a little longer than I’d hoped.
But no matter! Much like The Goonies, your humble annotator never says die! So grab a copy of your own and follow along as we delve for the final time into the academic mysteries of The Laughing Corpse!
1.1: When we last left Anita, she had shocked the world by actually doing something for what pretty much amounted to the second time in three years. Specifically, she straight-up murdered two dudes with a machete, which has taken us one step closer to my dream project of an Anita Blake movie starring Danny Trejo.
When this issue picks back up, we’re witnessing the aftermath of Anita’s double-homicide…
…specifically her enjoyment of the thrill that comes from ending a human life that she was never able to feel no matter how many animals she killed in the past. That’s our heroine, folks: Pretty much just quoting the Charles Manson playbook.
2.2: You know, in the midst of all this action involving Anita actually doing her job (albeit not the one where she hunts vampires like it says on the cover), which is actually coming on a level that we’ve never once seen from the Anita Blake comics…
…it’s nice that Framingham still takes the time to make sure we get a wordy, awkward DungeonMaster’s Guide explanation of what necromancy is. Even more amazing: The fact that it’s actually necessary to explain it at this point.
3.1: You know, while it’s nice that Anita’s finally using her super-powers to raise the dead after a whopping thirty-one issues of talking about it, I’ve gotta say that this incantation she drops is a little pedestrian:
“Arise and serve me?” C’mon, Laurenn, magic words aren’t supposed to be someone shouting their exact-literal intent! At least throw in some faux-Latin and a flick-and-swish, or–better yet–let me have a crack at punching this one up:
And you thought I was going to go with a hip-hop reference.
3.3-3.4: I think it’s worth noting here that when Anita, who allegedly raises the dead for a living, performs a double-human sacrifice and shouts “ARISE AND SERVE ME”…
…Aunt May, who is herself a necromanceress of some renown and made an Octofrankenstein last issue–needs this explained to her. Seriously, I know I’ve been critical of Anita’s powers of observation (or lack thereof) in the past, but considering that everyone else in this book is dumb as a bag of hammers, I’m starting to think she might just be the smartest one by default.
4/5: Okay, your humble annotator has to admit: Despite taking over three years of publication to actually get around to happening,l the fact that Anita uses her super-powers to raise a hundred zombies at once and send them to get revenge by ripping her enemies limb from limb? That’s actually pretty… awesome.
Sorry, it took me a minute to remember that word, as I don’t think I’ve ever used it while writing one of these articles before.
6.2-6.3: Of course, the fact that she does all this in order to murder a septuagenarian who looks like she spends her time making wheatcakes and reminding Peter to stay away from that awful Spider-Man does taint the moral victory a little (even if it results in a truly great last
…but like my mama always said, there’s no kill like overkill.
8.5: Also meeting his untimely end in this issue: Harold “The Big Lebowski” Gaynor, which brings an end to his plot and allows us to finally answer the question I’m sure someone on the Internet has been desperately asking: Would The Big Sleep be better if it had zombies?
Answer: No. No it would not.
10.3-10.4: You know, with as thrilling as it is for Anita to resurrect an entire graveyard’s worth of zuvembies and unleash them on those who have wronged her, I think there’s something pretty appropriate to the way she ends up dealing with them once they’ve outlived their usefulness:
By talking them to sleep, much like she’s been doing to me for the past three years.
Still, this issue’s been a major turning point for the series: Not only does Anita double-cross her captors and mete out harsh, deadly justice in a very proactive way, she also resists a supporting character’s urge to stop, outright rejecting the idea of doing nothing for the first time in the entire series. This is the Anita that we’ve been promised since Day One, the badass that’s finally living up to 31 issues of blowhard hype. This is actually a character I wouldn’t mind reading about, and shockingly, I’m starting to think that there’s nothing about her left to make fun of.
Okay, well. Maybe there’s still something to make fun of.
And considering that the rest of the issue is epilogue stuff that I can’t be bothered to care about because a lot of it hasn’t been mentioned since the Bush administration, that about wraps it all up. Although this issue does give me the opportunity to say something I’ve been waiting quite a while to drop on Anita:
Shhhhhhhhhhh… just you shut your mouth.