Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Reviews: Spooooky One-Shots

Today we’ll be looking at two horror themed one-shots in honour of Halloween: The moody and artful crossover “Hellboy/Beasts of Burden: Sacrifice” and the redundant “Spider-Man vs Vampires.”
Hellboy/Beasts of Burden: Sacrifice

I’m a fan of Mike Mignola’s “Hellboy” books and I’ve been hearing great things about Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s “Beasts of Burden.” I was pretty excited when this one-shot was announced, and I’m glad to say that it lives up to my expectations.

For those not in the know, “Beasts of Burden” features a team of house-pets from the town of Burden Hill who are charged with defending their home from supernatural threats. Hellboy is a demonic paranormal investigator, and his paranormal investigations usually end with the paranormal getting investigated squarely in the face with Hellboy’s giant stone fist. In “Sacrifice” the Beasts recruit Hellboy to help them track down and defeat the source of some recent paranormal slayings.

Evan Dorkin’s writes a great short story here, with fun dialogue between the Beasts and Hellboy. Jill Thompson art is beautiful, and it’s amazing to see how good a fully painted page looks compared to most digitally tweaked comics with Photoshopped-in backgrounds. This one-shot has inspired me to find the rest of the “Beasts of Burden” series.

Spider-Man Vs Vampires

The story is about as utilitarian as the title. There are vampires. Spider-Man versus them. The vampires are versed by Spider-Man. And so on and so forth. Spidey has tangled with vampires in the past, and it was a lot more interesting, too. Kevin Grevioux’s story is a team-up between Spider-Man and Blade, with both of them going up against an underground vampire fighting ring.

Credit where credit is due, they could have padded this out into a three issue mini. Thankfully, they did not. It tells the story succinctly, but the story itself never really grabbed me. Anytime anybody uses a sword in a PG-13 setting I’m generally unimpressed by the lack of actual violence. The art didn’t really do anything for me, either. It wasn’t horrible, but nothing really popped out at me. Also it wasn’t very scary. It did not live up to the hype of this banner:

Between “Spider-Man vs Vampires” and “Sacrifice”, “Sacrifice” was the eerier title. When your vampire book is less scary than a book featuring cats, dogs, and a Satanic Muppet fighting dirt monsters, yer doin’ it wrong. 

Have a spoooOOOooky and safe Halloween, everyone!

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