Nov 8, 2015

The 40 Years fo Comics Project - Day 257: The Girl Who Would Be Death #1, December 1998

There was quite a hullaballoo when this comic came out. It had been a few years since Gaiman's two Death miniseries, so the thought of a new one from Vertigo was rather enticing.

Until, of course, they told us it wasn't really about Death, but about someone trying to trap Death, a la Roderick Burgess. Not quite as exciting.

That said, until today that was all I would have been able to tell you about this series. I may not even have remembered the trapping Death bit. This is one of those comics that found its way into the collection via my store, and has gone unread in the 15 or so years since. And it was pretty good. Good enough that I'd pick up the rest of the mini-series...if the price was right.

The comic is nicely atmospheric, due in part to Dean Ormston's amazing lines, but also to Caitlin Kiernan's poetic captions. There's a sense of invocation in the sounds of the words, the images that are strung together.

Not sure quite yet what to think or say about the characters we've been introduced to thus far. In some ways I can see in them the movement of Vertigo comics that eventually led to my no longer bothering with them - there's this real morbid introspective vibe I get from these comics, which is cool, though I have to ask the questions about why such morbidity is necessary to carry forward a plot - at some point it becomes an end in and of itself, which I think is just self-indulgent. The characters in this comic are in danger of that: self indulgence to the point of insignificance. Not to say that they're all the way there, and Plath's character is remarkably well-realized. It's just this underlying angsty-ness, like the 9th season of Supernatural. I find that lots of "mature" comics will just let the angst take over and mistake it for depth.

A lukewarm review, I guess. I must admit I continue to check out Vertigo titles every now and again. Prez is pretty good, though I'm well behind on it. But it's not like the early 90s, where I would have read every Vertigo title had I the time or (as this was during the dark days of my break from comic collecting) inclination. I wonder what changed.

More randomness on it's way! See you tomorrow.

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