Art and Writing by: Stjepan Sejic
Published by: Image Comics
Stjepan Sejic surprised with a very strong debut to his new series Death Vigil last month, but the sophomore issue stalls due to an overabundance of exposition and occasionally cluttered artwork. This series is right at home with the rest of Top Cow’s lineup. The debut drove forward at break-neck speed and featured enough action, charming characters and a cool enough premise to work; however, there is very little action to be had this go around and the characters and premise are pounded into us ad nauseam until they seem neither charming nor cool.
Sejic’s art even suffers from the disjointed and spastic plot. He didn’t leave himself with enough room to play and give us the incredible visuals we were treated to the first time around. The characters are expressive, but there is a limit to how many times they should be able to smirk or raise an eyebrow in one book. The awesome dark fantasy demon play is noticeably shortened here as well, so the comic suffers from a pretty dull colour palette.
Sejic is such a talent that the cluttered nature of the book really could have been worse. There are also some legitimately great looking pages sprinkled throughout the issue. The problem is that they are few and far between. Too many panels suffer from excessive word balloons and too many pages suffer from too many panels. The great news is that like ripping off a bandage this hurt like hell, but hopefully we won’t have to do it again. If Sejic is now free to get down and dirty with incredible fights and the continuation of the battle between good and evil then this will simply be a speed bump for the series to hurdle.
It’s a tough thing for a writers to decide where to put the obligatory exposition needed help readers feel immersed. I can’t help but think that if Sejic were a more seasoned writer he might have dispersed all of the facts and history that we were in this installment over the next several issues. These issues are often digestible in some sort of collected format, but when you had to wait a month to read it and then wait another month to move forward, this seems like a significant lag for a story that can’t afford to sit on its heels.
Hard-core fantasy fans probably won’t mind this issue as much as the common reader simply because there are so few fantasy comics that anything will tide you over until your next fix. There is definitely a niche Death Vigil can meet if the next issue rebounds in a strong way.
“Death Vigil #2” loses the momentum won by the debut issue. The cluttered pages and excessive narration and explanations make reading a surprising chore. Even Sejic’s normally masterful artwork suffers from the plots disjointed narrative as well as its dense plotting. This series can’t afford another misstep like this. But the good news is that so many of the right pieces are already in place, they just need to be used.
“Death Vigil #2′ earns 6.7 / 10