Death Vigil #2

9 Overall Score
Art: 9/10
Dialogue: 9/10
Story: 9/10

Gorgeous artwork | Terrific and often very funny dialogue | Three-dimensional characters | A great story | Tons of potential | Minor touches, like having everyone in the Death Vigil have bright white hair, adds a uniformity to the book and its characters that makes it that much more accessible | Inventive, intricate panel layouts add a kinetic element to the flow of the book - no page is laid out the same way | Very cool demon designs

Very little is wrong with this issue. This book is HOT.

Death Vigil #2
Stjepan Sejic
Top Cow Productions/Image Comics

In the first issue of Death Vigil (whose review you can read HERE), readers were introduced to a world in which a modest-sized group of immortal protectors, led by Lady Death herself (Bernardette the Reaper), are the only thing that stands between our world and a growing army of necromancers hell-bent on opening up portals – “tears in the veil,” as it’s put in the book – for demons and all sorts of otherworldly baddies to enter.

The necromancers, armed with enchanted sigils, have some sinister, thus-far unrevealed sinister plans that are set to converge – as is evident by their unexplained disproportionately growth in strength as of late.

The Death Vigil, whose magical weapons known as veilrippers are uniquely suited to the imaginations of their weilders (not unlike the power rings of the Green Lanterns), have lost a few of their members recently to these hyper-powered evildoers, and they’re having a tough time refilling their ranks fast enough to keep up with their losses.

Death Vigil is told primarily through the eyes of Sam Lewis, who ten years ago died as a result of being on the wrong end of a back-alley mugging. Brought back to life by the beautiful Bernardette, he has since become one of her closest friends and confidants, the two of them often sitting together and speaking candidly. It’s almost romantic.

Roughly halfway through last issue, the perspective changed from Sam’s to that of Clara Jenkins, a woman who’d just accepted her longtime boyfriend Jon’s marriage proposal. Not long after, however, it’s revealed that Jon is in fact a necromancer himself and that his true intent was sacrificing Clara and summoning the Death Vigil for battle.

Sam arrives and battles Jon and the enormous demonic avatar he’s summoned, however he’s not strong enough. Fortunately, Bernardette anticipated his needing help and came to the rescue, along with her deceptively powerful bird talking bird Hugin, known in frightened whispers by the necromancers as “The Raven.”

And yeah, if this seems a little silly to you, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading comic books, jabroni.

At the end of the double-sized first issue, readers get a glimpse of what the necromancers are plotting and it, suffice it to say, it doesn’t look good.

Issue #2 (which, if we’re keeping track, is what I’m supposed to be reviewing here) opens with a sequence juxtaposing Sam’s resurrection with Clara’s, so when he offers her advice and some comforting words, readers know it’s because he himself went through the very same thing and dealt with it similarly.

Afterwards, the four of them – Sam, Clara, Bernardette and Hugin – travel through the veil (which evidently feels really, really good – so good that, once on the other end, you can actually see better for a brief period time) and end up, on the other end, at the Death Vigil’s headquarters: a nondescript and somewhat run-down mansion resembling something out of an ‘80s horror flick.

Readers are introduced to more members of the Vigil, such as Anubis, Grace Willow, James, Marlene and even another necromancer, Slippery Simon. The concept of Death Vigil is once more expounded upon, this time by way of a slide show put on by James, and although the action doesn’t progress that quickly, the plot is unfolding at a very comfortable and absorbable pace.

As I mentioned in my last review, Stjepan Sejic, on an artistic level, has ample style to spare. He really can create some absolutely beautiful images. That he has turned out to be just as deft a writer and plotter is an absolute revelation. Death Vigil undoubtedly borrows preexisting elements  from other stories, however he combines all of these elements so seamlessly that they seem both fresh and familiar – the recipe, as pop music has taught us, for mass appeal.

The characters are likeable, relatable and distinguishable from one another. The writing is funny, informative and non-pandering. The pacing is pitch-perfect. The action set pieces are imaginative and grand in scale. The potential for this book is high. There is absolutely zero reason to miss out.

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Jesse Scheckner
Author: Jesse Scheckner View all posts by
A freelance writer who regularly produces work for MMA Owl, Tuff Gnarl, Broward Palm Beach New Times, Florida Geek Scene and Miami's Community Newspapers. Moderately relevant. Follow me on Twitter @JesseScheckner.

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