-Convention Reporter/Host of Rolling 20s podcast
When we received an advance copy of an independent comic book for review, I eagerly stepped up. Though I don’t have much time as a busy conventioneer, family man, and podcaster, I’m finding that as I get older, I want to try out as many things as I can to see if I become a fan. Shadow Hunters #4 is not one of the things I became a fan of.
The cover quickly grabbed my attention with someone that looked like a more curvy version of Marvel’s X-23 surrounded by ninjas with glowing eyes. I wasn’t sure where this was heading. I began reading pages and found out that feeling of not knowing where the story was going would deepen with every page. There was no summary or synopsis on the credits page, so it was up to me to read between as many lines as possible to find out what the actual story was. I gathered bits of it as I went; the main character is a semi-scrupulous half-vampire gang leader. She has a number of full-blooded cousins, one of which licked blood off of every part of her like a third-tier porn star. Her father is a noble and betrayed her trust. There’s some kind of flash drive everyone wants with government records on them. Lastly, for some reason, she knows a sorceress and a shape shifter that seem to play games with each other in the shower, and I’m not talking Parker Brothers.
It didn’t take long before the dialogue told me that this would take some patience on my part. By page 3, the main character (who’s name still hasn’t been mentioned at this point), says to another character, Shut up! I don’t care about you but Jessika made it sound pretty important what was on t
hat drive. And I’ll be damned if your just gonna bleed all over it! I didn’t change the punctuation at all. It was the kind of sentence that you have to read a few times to make sure what the writer was trying to get across.
The art wasn’t much more helpful. The detail seemed to fade in and out and if you weren’t a central
character, there wasn’t a lot of time spent on drawing those characters, I felt. The vampire ninjas that
showed up (yes vampire ninjas) looked like faceless minions you might find on an episode of G.I. Joe
from 1992. That being said, the pertinent characters seemed to get more attention, but all of the main characters, with the exception of one male soldier, were all slender women with D-or-larger-cup breasts who shopped at Hot Topic at various parts of the last decade. This felt more like someone’s middle school fan fiction brought to live than a story that may lead to an ongoing narrative.
The direction seemed to need help as well. The soldier was bleeding from a large gash in his abdomen standing with some of the women, then on the next page, he was several feet away laying on the ground. By the third act, not only was he not bleeding, but his clothes were repaired and clean. If there’s an explanation for any of it, I missed it.