The Binder #1, 2004, Dig Comics
writer: Miguel Cima
artist: Ron Chan
letterer: J. Powell
production: Dirk Van Fleet
Although the Binder sounds like a hero that stands up against messy backpacks and lockers, in The Binder #1 he is the student of a witch and the trustee of a monster-fighting weapons master that, in this issue specifically, fights bloodthirsty vampires preying upon disease ridden African missions. Big difference. Independently published, The Binder wasn't a terrible read, and while I wasn't completely enthralled, I sensed a potential brewing beneath its surface, a Hellboy-meets-Agent Scully appeal that I'd appreciate more if the author honed his craft, or narrowed his focus. Writer Miguel Cima is obviously proud of his creation, boasting so in his supplemental essay page and even promoting the Binder short film he wrote/directed/produced. Alas, his dialogue strikes me a tad too unnatural, wavering from hipster colloquialisms (the vampires warrant a "British accent. Figures," from our wayward hero) to loft mythological verse, nothing too heady, but enough to mark a distinct contrast with other scraps of verse from the issue. The Binder has an arsenal of cool, supernatural weapons at his disposal, but surrounded by the paranormal, he exudes a subtle need for normalcy -- as if he strives for a disbelief his senses can never attain, with what he's seen. I wish Cima wandered in that direction a bit more; otherwise, he's offering comics another vampire hunter, another bogeyman chaser. We got plenty of those already. The Binder was an entertaining enough read, with an interestingly thought-provoking ending when one of the vamps supposes that their blood lust actually relieves the ailing AIDS patients -- but ultimately, it needs some tidying.