Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dark Entries

Written by Ian Rankin
Art by Werther Dell'Edera

This is the first of Vertigo's new "Vertigo Crime" sub-imprint, and I have to say that it's an attractive little book. The spine evokes other crime book imprints, and the cover pops out at you. The paper quality is poor, but that's the type of thing I can overlook.

I don't understand why Vertigo chose to make this comic their first in this new line though, mainly for the reason that it's not a crime comic, and it's not exactly a mystery, as the cover proclaims. It's a John Constantine, haunted mansion, trip to hell comic. As such, it's a decent one. It is definitely not a crime comic though.

This book is written by Ian Rankin, who I suppose knows the difference between crime stories and supernatural stories. He's written a pile of the former, and, to my knowledge, none of the latter (it's probably worth pointing out that this is the first work by him I've ever read, so I might not know what I'm talking about - I did work in a bookstore for four years a decade ago, and I like to make 'High Fidelity' style proclamations from time to time still).

Okay, leaving labels aside, the question is whether or not the book is good. And it is pretty decent. Constantine is hired to enter the closed set of a reality show that deals with fear - contestants occupy a 'haunted' house, and have to face their fears to find a secret room with a treasure in it. The only problem is, the show has gone off the rails, and the contestants are being frightened by things the producers didn't intend. Enter Constantine.

From there, the story follows pretty well-established Hellblazer patterns. There is some connection to a dark time in John's past, and things aren't what they seem. This could easily have been an arc in his series, fitting in at almost any point over the last several years.

Dell'Edera's art is pretty rough in places - I much preferred his work on the too-short lived Loveless series a couple of years ago. At times, I found it difficult to figure out who was who, and that always detracts from a story.

No comments: