Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria & Warren Pleece

Life SucksDescription: Life sucks for Dave Marshall.

The girl he’s in love with doesn't know he exists, he hates his job, and ever since his boss turned him into a vampire, he can’t go out in daylight without starting to charbroil.

Stats: Paranormal Graphic Novel, 192 pages, First Published by First Second, April 2008.

My Rating: 2 STARS

Life Sucks is a graphic novel that sells itself as a possibly interesting take on another vampire tale of darkness. This story is all about removing vampire lore from its classic romanticism and into some form of reality where you need to pay rent and stuff.

All of the elements here are very workable concepts, and I went into this wanting to like it, but it just fell flat.

I don't really have much of a response to the book. No honest hate, no enjoyment, no emotional connection to the material, no interest in the art, and only mild interest in the plot. I can say that the characters were by far the best thing about the book, but even then they just weren't enough to carry the entire story.

What can be seen as the biggest downfall of Life Sucks was that it didn't do anything new. Everything done here feels done before. Nothing stood out and said, THIS SETS ME APART! And I hate to say that, because in a way it feels unfair to the book that I have to compare it to vast vampire sub-genre where it doesn't stand much of a fighting chance. (If only because everything has been done to varying degrees.) There are just better, more engaging books out there that have the same overall idea about taking vampires out of the dark age and into the modern world in the least sparkly fashion possible. A very, very good example of this re-imagining being American Vampire, a historical graphic novel which I highly recommend to anyone even remotely interested, if only because the art in that is remarkable.

Speaking of art. That was definitely my low point, and very nearly made me dislike this completely. I'll start by saying the art has really good things about it: The colouring is vivid, there are a lot of small details, and it has some great panels. But these things can't save it entirely. The style does not convey movement well and I found myself getting bored with the limited array of facial expressions. Worst of all, the inability to have characters appear to be more than just stiff re-positioned figures, reminded me of barbie dolls. That is never a comparison you want to think, let alone read in a review, but it has to be written.

When rounding everything out, this turned out to be very "meh".

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