As regular ISB readers know, the last few weeks have seen some major changes in my life. With the release of my first professional comics work and a move over to a full-time job with ComicsAlliance, I’ve become a full-time freelance writer. And yet, no matter how hard I try to get them to do it, nobody will pay me to read these Anita Blake comics.
Yes, like all
disproportionately bitter loudmouths devoted seekers of knowledge, my dedication is unappreciated in its own time, but sometimes scholarship is its own reward. This, however, continues to be largely thankless, so let’s get on with it. Grab your own copy and follow along!
0.0: Though the interiors are still done by “Rascally” Ron Lim, this issue’s cover was provided by the original Anita Blake artist, Brett Booth…
…which means that once again, Anita has a thigh that is wider than her waist and tiny, tiny little hands. Both of those are to be expected, but the weird thing here is that your humble annotator has been doing this for so long that the sight of ol’ Thunder Thighs up there actually sparked a twinge of nostalgia for when I started doing this three years ago. Remember that? Back when I was young and hadn’t had the hope crushed out of me by interminable scenes of chatty vampire hunters refusing to hunt vampires?
1.1: In equally cheery news, this issue picks up right where we left off last time, with Anita being menaced with the threat of rape and torture:
Because, you know. Empowerment. Given that we’ve got another issue to go (and that there have been something like forty-six Anita Blake novels after The Laughing Corpse), I think it’s safe to assume that Anita’s not actually going to die here, but if three and a half years of this book have taught us anything, it’s that this conflict will most likely be resolved by Anita talking someone to death and/or being rescued by someone with an actual shred of competence. Let’s find out!
2.1: Hey, wait a sec–
2.6: –slow dow–
3.2: Just hang on a min–
3.3: Whoa whoa whoa wait–
Okay. Is it over? Okay.
So, uh… Basically Anita Blake just poked out a guy’s eye, threw a knife into his chest, and then beat him to death with a chair, which means that Framingham & Co. just straight turned this book into a late ’90s New Jack match, and I assure you that no one is more surprised by this development than me. Seriously, I checked the cover three times to make sure I was reading Anita Blake.
I’ve got to say, I’ve been pretty harsh on this book’s complete and utter lack of action, but now I’m starting to wonder if this isn’t some metafictional con on the reader, where fourteen issues of monumentally low expectations are given to the reader so that when she does go apeshit on a bad guy, it actually comes as the kind of visceral shock that it should, even to someone jaded by a lifetime of comics about people kicking each other in the head.
Maybe it’s a long shot, but I’m willing to embrace the idea that I might be wr… That I might be wrrr… that I might be slightly incorrect in my assessment of the series thus far, and the last three years of boredom is just a masterful commitment to storytelling that are finally paying off. Maybe this is the turning point I’ve been waiting for!
4.5: And here’s the first test for LJF’sABVHTLCB3E‘s bold new direction:
Cicely, the Big Lebowski’s deaf prostitute henchwench, who has apparently taken some time off from her important work with the Mad Gear Gang, and–Zounds!
4.6: Anita just cold went Inspector Tequila on this!
Man, I just… I can’t believe it. Anita Blake’s getting shot and returning fire and killing bad guys! She’s doing stuff! I mean, none of it’s actually related to hunting vampires like it says she does on the cover, but still! I’m actually liking this comic!
5.5: Quick aside, though: Am I the only one who thinks Anita’s broke-ass K-Mart Nike knockoffs are hilarious?
I am? Okay, well, they are.
7.1: Oh man, this should be awesome! The crazy zombie monster that first appeared in the last issue has shown up! Given that Cicely’s been shot through the heart with Anita to blame and Tommy’s been beaten like Mick Foley at Royal Rumble ’99 (Note To Readers Who Did Not Spend Their Youths Watching WWF: He got hit with a chair a lot. Like, a lot), then this ought to be a huge moment. Cicely and Tommy were, after all, minor villains (Cicely only appeared in two issues that were released more than a year apart), and the big zombie monster is the most impressive supernatural threat that we’ve yet seen in a series of comics that are built entirely around supernatural threats! This, therefore, should be the biggest and most tense action of the series thus far!
9.3: Or, she could fucking talk to it.
For those of you keeping score at home, the amount of time that I was actually enjoying Anita Blake is 7 pages, 2 panels. And you know, that’s my fault, really. I should’ve known better.
11.2-3: Yep, things are well and truly back to normal:
After a brief flirtation with competence, Anita’s back to being unable to resist external forces that are compelling her into exciting activities like “walking around.” That’s our Anita!
14.5: Yeah, nice try here…
…but I’m not falling for it again. You can have Aunt May smack her around all you want, you can even have her murder two dudes with a machete (but not, unfortunately, with Machete) on Page 22, but I’ve learned my lesson. I’m not going to get my hopes up that anything of substance is ever going to happen in this comic.
You got me once, LJF’sABVHTLCB3E… But I won’t get fooled again.