Saturday, February 16, 2008

Once Bitten...Bite Me Again!

Ok, I have a small confession to make. I started reading MARVEL comics when I was about 5 years old (one of my babt-sitters discovered it was a great way to keep me quiet and out of trouble--I was hooked!). I still love Spider-Man, Daredevil and the Fantastic Four. Now this may seem immaterial, but its not. Into this challenge to the suspension of disbelief slinks Jaz Parks, ex-vampire slayer turned CIA assassin.

She is the proto-typical comic book heroine with a cast right out of MARVEL comics (and to be fair, DC as well). She is tough, yet haunted and vunerable. She is loyal and thus inspires heroic loyalty among her peers and comrades. She's smart, strong, sassy and daddy's little girl, the girl-next-door all rolled into a fast action, rock 'em, sock 'em heroine against the "We're going to end the world so we can rule what's left" bad guys. Its classic!

Jaz is introduced mid-story, we get glimpses of prelude as we go through the current story, including a mysterious benefactor that grants certain "advantages" to Jaz in her quest to save life, liberty and the American way. She and her 300-year vampire partner are given an assignment to take out a terrorist. But as they investigate, we are introduced to what every comic book character needs: the arch-nemesis. In this case its someone you never see called The Raptor. He is the brains behind the scenes pulling the strings as his minions attempt to release a curse that will, quite literally, consume the planet.

Is this "fantasie-haute"? Definitely not. Is it a great, larger-than-life story that tells the reader than, somewhere, some how, they can be better? Yep. Its a quick read and Mrs. Rardin is whipping them out faster than I can read them (3 books in six months), But, the first one is definitely worth reading. Especially for all those super-hero/heroine fans out there. Fortunately, that includes me.


SQT said...

Am I the only one who didn't like this book?

I just couldn't buy into Jaz's character.

texasboyblue said...

I said right off that it was comic book drama. That requires an incredible ability to suspend disbelief. Comic book heroes are always tortured over some issue or another (and usually more issue than one). But all the elements are there - The super heroine, the super-powered and much loved sidekick, the loyal and sometimes powerful support group, the equal powerful but "flawed-by-their-evil" bad guys, and the absolutely mandatory arch-nemesis. What's not to love?

Buy in? Jaz is complicated and an old Spiderman and contrast it with a new Spiderman. The same person is Spiderman, but his personality will undergo subtle changes to meet the latest series in a story line (in comic books, that usually means a new writer). Is it massively meaningful? Hell no! Is it trash fantasy? Probably. Is it entertaining? In my opinion, highly. But I LOVE Spiderman and have since I was 5.

You are probably just more discerning than I am. And that's probably a good thing. I totally relate to super hero comic book characters which is by definition, childish. But WOO HOO do I have fun!