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Undying Love #3 – Advanced Review

Undying Love has gone back to being a bit better than the first issue was, with some of the same and different reasons as to why.  The story’s events begin before the first two issues and tell the story of how John met Mei during his service as a soldier and how John decides to protect Mei and travel with her.  Tomm Coker and Daniel Freedman are putting their creativity to good use in this latest issue of Undying Love.  Mei’s character, one that seemed nothing more than a simple damsel-in-distress an issue ago, has proven to have a lot more bite in this issue – and in deceptive amounts. Coker and Freedman really outline Mei’s insatiable blood lust in this issue with great results and make Mei seem both deceptively innocent and deadly, a great combination with a vampire that really makes you wonder if she will ever turn on her GI Joe-model boyfriend.  Hopefully this is intentional, otherwise Mei’s rapid mood swings throughout the issue are just examples of inconsistent writing.  If planned, this tactic is a great one.  It gives her character depth and makes me even more curious to learn about her origins and the very first time she ever became a vampire, which will hopefully be answered in future issues.  Image's Undying Love #3 by Tomm Coker and Daniel FreedmanAn even bigger and more pleasant surprise than Mei’s transformation from damsel to a mostly full-fledged vampire is Mei’s aforementioned boyfriend.  John Sargent is not a bad character by any means – he served in a war and is often, through several attempts by Freedman and Coker, portrayed as (for lack of a better word) a badass.  With so many characters like that in not only the world of comics but in most media, it’s hard to measure up, but John comes a bit closer in this issue.  The fact that he has suffered through war seems to be a central part of his character, which is an interesting and unique viewpoint.  This issue even manages to make John come off as even cooler during his fight against Mei’s captives than in every other issue. The only problem is that his character could still use more depth.  He still has a ways to go (or at least a few speech bubbles) before his characters can be fully fleshed out.  But this issue does finally give him some of the motivation to fight for Mei that the series should have started with – but better late than never. The actual story is where things start to get a little shaky.  The ending of the issue turns into a cliché and fails to be climactic at all.  The sudden time shift does make sense since John went through such an ordeal in the last issue, but still would have been better in the first issue.  It would have created more of an attachment to the characters and given away part of their backgrounds, while setting up many more surprises for future issues to explore.  Even with my many questions finally being answered here, it felt a little light on content in this issue as opposed to the last.  The issue just seemed to go by a little too quickly and could slow its pace up a bit to give not only the story a better pace but the reader a chance to breathe.  The issue also seems very disconnected from the first two, taking place in a completely different setting and taking away the cultural elements written so well in the first issue.  These elements are very missed here even though I know they will return in the next issue.  Another small complaint is the language – and I don’t mean cursing.  Since the first issue, Undying Love has had people speaking different languages that are never translated and simply remain jumbled symbols.  Since you don’t know what it says you just ignore it, so what’s the point of having it there?  Undying Love #3 Panel drawn by Tomm Coker and colored by Daniel Freedman.The art has the most problems out of everything, with only one moment really standing out from the rest.  Artist Tomm Coker used to have beautiful backgrounds that made me want to visit Hong Kong but now they’ve taken a back seat to just about everything else and are mostly neglected.  All the male characters also seem to have proportional issues with a little too much muscle and not enough realism.  Mei is given much better treatment and has her most beautifully drawn shot in a full page panel.  In the future a touch of her beauty needs to go into everything else.  The speech bubbles are also an interesting element in the comic.  It uses the rarely used technique of having a simple line drawn from the mouth of the character to the speech bubble.  This gives the art more room and doesn’t cram them in between characters.  But it’s also disconcerting: the lines really stand out as a weird grey mass crossing through the panel, especially when contrasted with a brightly colored panel making it seem very out of place and interfering with the art about just as much as it was trying to help it. While the art was mostly a letdown with mixed results on the speech bubbles and beautiful results on Mei, the characters have grown a lot in this issue.  Seeing the origin of their relationship, despite it feeling a bit late, was what the series really needed to pull in a reader and make them truly care about the characters.  They help distract from the fact that little really moved forward plot-wise in this issue, but that isn’t really the purpose here.  Instead this issue is more of a highlight to the characters, which could have been accomplished in a better way but still manages to hit many high notes.  My hopes for the next issue are that it can polish the already great elements and make them better as well as improve the flaws and not fall by the wayside like the second issue did. Overall Score – 8.7/10 *Great - Easily getting a second printing. Worth any comic fan's time and money.*


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About / Bio
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.

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