Kiss Me Satan #1 Review: Werewolves and vampires and demons, oh my!
Looking for werewolves and vampires? No, you're sick and tired of them? Well, you're getting them anyway. This time with a mafia motif.
After getting away from a vampire retrieval team, demon Barnabus Black takes a job protecting a seer who has upset mafia boss (and werewolf) Cassian Steele in order to win back his halo. If he doesn't end up torn to shreds first.
It's hard to be original when you're writing about vampires and werewolves. Kiss Me Satan
tries to do that and more. It... partially succeeds. What writer Victor Gischler (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike—A Dark Place, Punisher MAX, X-Men
) does to try to put a new spin on these monsters of old is he puts a mafia motif over everything. Surprisingly, while that sounds kind of out there, it works pretty well. Unfortunately, Gischler may be trying to do too much.
The world of Kiss Me Satan
is hectic. There are so many mythical creatures brought into the mix that it shouldn't be able to function and it doesn't. The werewolves are pivotal to the plot, but sending a vampire retrieval team? Then bringing in the devil, God, cherubs? It's way too early to tell how relevant anything other than the werewolves will be and at this point it feels like an overwhelming mishmash.
The plot seeming starts out with a simple chase scene but, after we leave the protagonist, we meet one of the most memorable people in this issue... and he hasn't even been born yet. He is the focal point of the most interesting plot development, which involves the mafia boss Cassian. This plot point brings up some of the politics of the werewolves clan and the more creative and interesting elements of the story. The protagonist surely isn't going to keep things interesting.
While there are a few interesting character, the protagonist is the least entertaining. I forgot Barnarbus' name and had to look it up. He doesn't leave a huge impression on the reader (though his work with pianos was pretty funny). He's you're average gun-toting protagonist who's trying to redeem himself. His origin is quickly explained by an exposition-spewing cherub in a suit whose design is more interesting than his dialogue. The thing I like best about him is his double-alliteration of a name that rolls right off the tongue and out of my mind.
One character whose name I didn't forget was the seer, Verona, an older woman who isn't afraid to give orders and whack werewolves with her cane. She was a fun character and I'm looking forward to learning more about her psychic powers... and seeing her hit more werewolves with her cane, of course. She also points out some "flaws" within the story, but Gischler could have been more subtle that he was trying to plug some holes up in his story. Still, Verona does a good job of plugging those holes up. Her apprentices also show some promise, with creative powers but very character development in this issue.
Some of Juan Ferreyra's (Colder, Rex Mundi
) artwork has a great painted look to it. When it loses that look in some places the artwork is still solid but the painted parts stand out, even during the end fight when the background was reduced to a blue color. The best painted-looking characters are definitely the werewolves. The character designs are also creatively designed, like Verona's eye and Jules, the exposition-spewing cherub from before, who has the typical cherub look but with a gangster-looking suit and a stogey in his mouth. Again, however, our protagonist lacks a creative design and is almost a blank slate with a bald head and a trinket around his neck that isn't really eye-catching. Ferreyra also has a habit of drawing eyes just a bit too big which look odd on some characters. The quirks outweigh the positives in several spots.
This debut job fulfilled its basic task: set-up a story. The story does have the potential to grow and Gischler throws a couple of creative elements into the mix. But there is too much going on here. Most of it you've seen before, especially the protagonist (what was his name again?), but the plot development surrounding Cassian and his family, some good artistic moments from Ferreyra, plus several characters who are still mysteries, make me curious enough to want see where this story is going.