Dead Romeo #2 Review

DR2 CvrAs promised, I have given this series another shot. I’m glad I did. This issue is slightly better than last month’s debut. Unfortunately one of the areas DC falls down compared to Marvel, is their lack of an introduction page. So, if you haven’t read Dead Romeo #1, this won’t mean much of anything to you. However, here’s the skinny: Romeo is a vampire recently revived from far too long in hell. He’s now trying to avoid going back there,which means avoiding satisfying his bloodlust. The white haired hero meets a sassy virgin, Whisper and falls head over heels for her far too quickly, though he does wonder why at least. Romeo’s old gang also return from the grave and they’re a motley crew of nasties. They want Whisper too. Now Romeo must make a choice -kill her and save himself, or save her and kill himself. Last issue we were introduced to the man characters, while this issue is effectively a 22 page run and fight feature, bringing him closer to a fateful decision.

There’s more blood, some predictable gangsta speak and not much characterisation. There’s 4 more issues to go, so Romeo and Whisper have to fall in love and defeat the baddies while somehow living to live a happy life. Of course, writer Jesse Blaze Snider may just manage to avoid those cliches and pull out a few surprises. Let’s hope so. Thus far, it’s a mix of Blade, Twilight and The Crow with it’s vampire in love battling fellow vamps while trying to avoid damnation flair going on. Those influences aren’t obvious ones however,and Snider, along with artist Ryan Benjamin, has put considerable time into making each character distinct. I only hope it pays off in the long run.

For a preview of this ish, go here.                                                                                                       DR2 prvw

Dead Romeo #1 Review

Dead RomeoI grabbed this for 2 reasons – the cover and the name. They’re both awesome. Written by Jesse Blaze Snider (yes, he is a musician, the son of Dee Snider infact) and pencilled by Ryan Benjamin this new six issue mini-series is kind of like Twilight for the manly.

Snider is fairly new to comics, but it doesn’t really show. The old familiar story convention of having a narrator introduce us to a dying man and how he got into that predicament kicks things off, before we’re hit with, “But I’m getting ahead of myself. That’s not where the story begins. It’s not even where it ends. Our story begins six feet underground.” Sure, not entirely original to start a story with the protagonist’s death, but in this case it works-barely. The dead man is Jonathan Romero. He gets out of his grave, having been buried in 1986 and finds a homeless girl called Whisper hanging out at the cemetery with her snarling dog. They exchange unpleasantries and part ways, with Romero (nicknamed Romeo) seemingly smitten. The building of this romance between the cynical Whisper and the undead vampire Romeo is the basis of the series. Romeo has done some horrendous things to escape hell apparently, and was protected by the also-resurrected Hollywood Vampires, a collective of bad fangs. To escape hell forever they must kill a virgin.

For a debut issue, this is okay. There’s a lot to introduce here, but compared to say, Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, or even Hexed which were strengthened by their simplicity, Dead Romeo seems to be filling every page with characters. If all those characters serve a purpose, then that’s fine, but only future issues will tell. Snider’s not a bad writer though. Romeo seems quite clearly the romantic vampire, a la Angel, while every other vamp seems like they’re auditioning for the next Lost Boys sequel. They’re all bad to the bone. Got it. 

I’ll give this series a go, because despite my harshness, I can see what Snider’s attempting. There’s going to be a battle, with love caught in the middle, and tough choices involving sacrifice to be made. Dead Romeo just needs time to develop the characters, and Snider shows promise in his dialogue. It’s not off to  a great start, but with more streamlining this series could be interesting. Benjamin’s pencils are fine. There’s heaps of blood (if there was any swearing this would’ve been a Vertigo book) and each character, including Romeo in his glam rock outfit, Death the skeletal barman, and Dwight Phry (leader of the Hollywood vamps) possess a distinct visual identity.

Vampire tales have been through the wringer of pop culture so many times, there’s almost nothing new to say, but Snider may very well be creating an intriguing, atmospheric tale here. It’s just hard to see so far.

See a preview of this ish here.

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