Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Dark Shadows #3

Note: The most difficult thing about writing this particular post was keeping it from becoming a troubling (and even disturbing) love letter to Angelique, Dark Shadows' resident witch.This meant excising 125,000 words about the fictional results of a Jell-O wrestling match between Angelique and Samantha from Bewitched. (Spoiler: Angelique wins.)  So, here's the short version.

Angelique returned at the end of the previous issue, proving once again that restraining orders are mostly useless. If you're unfamiliar with the Dark Shadows mythology it might not have much meaning for you, but it's the Collinwood equivalent of seeing Godzilla marching down Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. Only sexier.

Even hardcore fans of the show might be a little baffled by the dialogue between Angelique and Barnabas, who is rightfully pissed off and terrified. Angelique died during her last appearance on the television show, killed by a gunshot from Lamar Trask in 1840. By all rights her death should have permanently changed the future but those kinds of incidental details were mostly ignored by Dark Shadows. Barnabas recognized her sacrifice and, apparently forgetting all the horrible things she had done, proclaimed her to be his One, True Love (at the Moment.)

Which brings us back to Angelique's return. She's a bit put out by having been dead for more than a century and reacts less than favorably when Barnabas again spurns her affections. Having no man in which to devote her rabid fanaticism she decides to entertain herself with casual cruelty, heading straight to the Blue Whale and an encounter with Carolyn's kinda-boyfriend.

Carolyn is explaining to Jack the Bartender that her husband Jeb Hawkes died an untimely death (but forgetting to mention he was the anti-christ) and that she doesn't think it's a good idea to get too close to anybody. And then this happens:

During the review of the previous issue I noted that artist Aaron Campbell uses his larger panels sparingly but powerfully, and this page is a terrific example of that. The first time I saw this page I blacked out from the rush of blood leaving my head. Lara Parker was always the wicked sexpot of Dark Shadows but DAMN. I want to have this page's babies and I wasn't even born with the equipment that would allow me to do that. Good work, AC.

Back at Collinwood, Barnabas and Quentin discover the rest of the family is still under Angelique's spell. The situation is compounded by Barnabas' need for blood and his unwillingness to kill in order to feed. He enlists Quentin as a Surrogate Willie (I'm sorry) to watch his back as he hunts ... and to make sure he doesn't get carried away and kill someone by accident.

Dr. Hoffman finds Angelique and Carolyn at the Blue Whale and makes the mistake of trying to reason with a crazy bitch. Julia leaves in a huff, after which Angelique's mood takes a turn for the cruel. Recognizing her affections for Jack the Bartender she kills him, offering no other reason to Carolyn than to remind her of her place.

Issue #4 is expected to hit stores this week. I've said this before but it's worth repeating: If you like Dark Shadows you need to read this book. If you're looking to catch up with the series a collected edition is available for pre-order on Amazon. You can find it HERE.

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