Page 45 Review by Stephen
Hong Kong. Tong's Medicinal Remedies and Herbs.
"Let me guess. Boy meets girl, falls in love. But boy can't take a vampire home to meet Mom. So what does he do? He loads his guns and fills the gas tank. Heads to a foreign land with the hopes of killing the vamp that made her - setting her free so the two of you can be together? Forgive my tone, Mr. Sargent, but the story is nothing new."
No, but the execution is all, and this is gorgeous.
For a start, there's exquisite nocturnal art from BLOOD + WATER's Tomm Coker. It's like Tim Bradstreet inked by DEATH's Chris Bachalo or HELLBLAZER: CITY OF DEMONS' Sean Murphy: slick, glossy and mesmerising. For love-struck former mercenary John Sargent, think John Constantine spliced with Garth Ennis's Punisher heading straight into the den of one of the oldest and most powerful vampires in China. He wants to get his attention.
"Sir, if you wouldn't mind
These are VIP guests and I must not permit you - -"
"Return to your post."
"It's not for me to decide, sir. This is my job. What would you have me do?"
"I'd have you alert your staff that an evacuation is imminent."
It really is imminent!
Deceptively young-looking Tong has pretty much summed it up at the top, by the way: whilst on duty working for a US-employed security firm in Syria, John Sargent freed the beautiful Mei from being sold into sexual slavery. Now they're heading back to where Mei's immortal path began, but there's a foxy lady (she's both fox and foxy) surrounded by samurai desperate to keep them away and she's more ally than enemy! No, their real opponents are fiercer, feathery, obsidian shapeshifters, more vampires than you can shake a stake at, and Shang-Ji himself, Mei's own maker who is very much surprised to discover she's alive.
Superb action sequences and a sympathetic design including chapter breaks which masterfully maintain the mood, plus much mirth from young Tong and a permanently drunken reprobate singing Elvis Presley in a slurred Chinese accent.
Vertigo missed a trick with this; can't wait for volume two! As Duncan Fegredo pointed out, "great storyboards/commentary by Coker" in the back.