Monday, October 10, 2011

Bite Club

Written by Howard Chaykin and David Tischman
Art by David Hahn

I've made no secret of the fact that I'm not exactly a fan of Howard Chaykin's work, but that usually applies to his art, and I've enjoyed his collaborator, David Tischman's writing on Fraction and Greatest Hits.  Plus, this book is drawn by David Hahn and the original comics had amazing covers by Frank Quitely, so I thought I'd check this out.

Bite Club is about a Latin American crime family in Miami, who happen to be vampires.  Vampires aren't exactly rare in this world (although, if you were to know our culture only through our popular entertainment, they aren't exactly rare here either), and people are generally accepting of them, which is kind of strange, and goes unmentioned throughout.

Anyway, the Del Toro family pretty much own Miami, although they've gotten someone mad at them, as their patriarch, Eduardo, gets killed in the first chapter.  After that, his family empire is in disarray, especially after it's discovered that he left everything to his son Leto, the only Del Toro who had left the family and entered the priesthood.  From here, the story is about Leto's wrestling with his new role, and the various problems of his two siblings, his mother, her lover, and their lawyer (it could be a Peter Greenaway movie).

The comic is entertaining enough, but I felt like the plot never gelled, and was stuck in a very episodic progression, with too many characters that needed their requisite screen time each issue, but who ultimately didn't contribute much to the story.  Hahn's a great artist, but even in his hands, this story stayed stiff and kind of artificial.  The First Second graphic novel Life Sucks covered similar ground, but with a lot more heart and heft.

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