Ashes #2, Damage Comics
writer: Gerald Sanchez
penciller: Lionel Ordaz
colorists: Oscar Rodriguez & Chris Herrera
When my brother rifled through the comic books I purchased from Atomic Comics and Hero Comics in Phoenix over the Thanksgiving weekend, Ashes #2 made him look at me with some concern and ask, “Are you into this dark stuff?” I could understand why. The cover of this issue depicts a bloated corpse, its eyes like dark, reflective marbles, its lips curled back into a bubbly recess to reveal a set of deadly fangs, its chin and chest covered in dark crimson blood. Yeah, it’s creepy, and although I’m not usually into dark stuff like this, the image is painted masterfully enough to elicit further study. My curiosity was peaked.
To no avail. Ashes #2 offers another “insightful” vampire story, one that would’ve found a suitable context in my series of Halloween-related reviews two months ago. In fact, before I delve into this issue’s specifics, I should mention that I have tried to find some comics that embody the spirit of this holiday season, just as I did in October, thus far for naught. Comics and the horror genre seem closely related, perhaps because comic books offer a systematic visual medium that serves a horror story’s need to grasp the audience’s imagination. What of inspirational literature, or fiction with a more positive message, more befitting the Christmastime feeling? When I hit the back issue bins harder in the next few weeks, I’m sure I’ll find some material featuring angels or something, anything I can link to the yuletide season. In the meantime, we have Ashes #2.
Ashes #2 stars a homeless vampire squatting in his victims’ apartment, waiting for them to come back to life to prove the nature of his affliction. They don’t. His plight is less interesting, though, than his ongoing introspection, which ironically explores the ridiculousness of vampires in the media. When he spots a movie poster for a film not unlike Interview With a Vampire, the protagonist muses, “Who thinks of this crap! Ruffles and lace. I wanna see a real vampire movie. A mean ass junkie vomiting and all!” This while wearing a trenchcoat billowing in the breeze, arguably the modern version of the “ruffles and lace” that make old Dracula-like characters so uber-melodramatic. Despite this issue’s protagonist’s depression and depravity, I must confess that I derived a sense of romanticism about him. I’m not into this stuff but I wasn’t disinterested, either, driven to finish the story by a sheer curiosity of the character’s dilemma. The interior art wasn’t as great as the cover image, but it works, even when its style inexplicably changes with just pages to spare in the end.
I’ve explored the vampire phenomenon in this forum before, so I waste another entry doing so again. If Ashes #2 reveals anything different than other vampire stories I’ve read, it’s the revelation that as much as vampires seek out the necks of their victims, oftentimes their affliction requires they look out for their own necks, as well. Who would’ve thought it’d be so tough to be a night-dwelling bloodsucker?