Saturday, 5 May 2007

Less than Zero: Zero Hunters

Garrick is a vampire hunter in Zero hunters, the genre requires hunted and hunted in the same manner a zombie flick is typically a badly designed examination of class warfare. The strip veers between mere genre technicalities, the phrase, 'A unit so top secret, only a handful of people outside the department know we exist' is a trite nothing, The British Tv series Ultraviolet has plumbed the depths of vampire fiction, Buffy practically rebirthed it into popular culture. The Blade series...uh...I don't like swearing online. So, we've seen this before, the trenchcoat, the attitude and the noirish narration. A broken hero all world-weary without anything to lose, the lonesome apartment with its half empty liquor bottle, the newbie 'straight out of the academy' joins the hero on a journey to destroy the seething feeding frenzy created by the undead.

The artwork is a redeeming feature, good tone and texture, there's a reason why there's a long list of collaborators here, the colourist is vital to any graphic novel - compare the first collection of Preacher to the last volume, the decreasing lack of depth was disturbing. This isn't the case in this strip, if the linework is sometimes primitive the backgrounds are well executed.

The anger evident in the protagonist is another step forward. The animality of vampirism here is a direct contrast to the delicate lilac whisperings of Anne Rice, here we find a portrayal of the vampire as a link between mankind and the primordial beast. Still, the strip is a mix of badly phrased prose and some very deep emotions, these emotions curdling at the bottom of this strip, the night the protagonist's wife and child were taken from him. The arch-enemy, Drevald, tells our moody hunter on that night, 'I've given you the gift of hate - and hatred is an amazing thing.' This exposition works because innocents are involved, children, women, affected in feeding rituals in languor by vampires dressed like gothic bondage gear hookers. The violence is unusual for horror webcomics and while the 'lets do this' guff palls somewhat I still found this testosterone-filled horror-show worthwhile. This a good mixture of a webcomic and I'm willing to ignore the cliches evident here and enjoy the dark side for a while.

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