Digital Comic: The Vampire Diaries: Vervain 1/3

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It’s been a while since I did a comic post: I’m on a bit of a hiatus with them. Still, when I heard that they were coming out with a digital comic for the Vampire Diaries I was curious, and for $0.99 it’s a low risk investment.

Here are my thoughts below:

Pros:

  • The distribution method and price point. At $0.99 even those who otherwise might not read comics should be willing to give this a shot. Digital distribution means no trying to locate a physical comic book store (which not everyone has access to) or having to pay more for the shipping than the comic itself. This is going to be a niche title, much like the True Blood comic and the cheaper costs associated with an all digital method should mean a lower price point to remain viable.
  • There is some good banter between Damon and the new character, Julian.
  • It attempts to explain why vervain, which is a weed, is so difficult to find in Mystic Falls.
  • It does remember canon that says that a witch cannot become a vampire and remain a witch.

Cons

  • The art work is iffy. Much like True Blood, the creatures try to ape the look of the actors who play the characters. Problem is, it doesn’t always translate well. Had the first bubble not specifically referred to Damon and Stefan I’m not convinced I’d have recognized them. Some panels are better than others.
  • Their grasp of canon seems dubious. Damon calls Julian a “Yankee deserter” so why should they trust him. Damon may have been fighting for the South, but he’s no less a deserter. It’s one of the first lines that Damon speaks and a first impression should never be “has the writer seen the series?”
  • Along those lines, it’s said that vervain is needed for the witches’ magic. Since when? We never really see Bonnie use it. As far as I can tell, the ones who have used vervain the most are the vampires themselves.
  • For that matter, early canon established that the Salvatore brothers controlled the vervain in Mystic Falls. If this spell wiped it out, then where did they get a supply to stock up their supply? And, if what Damon said is true about going to the Lowe’s in the next town over, why even bother to have that green house worth of vervain in the first place?
  • I’m not even sure that the witches magic would allow this. The TVD form of magic is very nature based and it’s been well established that the spirits don’t like that which goes against nature (hence Esther being punished so horribly for what she did). I’m not sure that the spirits would allow this kind of spell to happen.

I am curious as to where they are taking this, and for the price I’ll play along, but if the comic goes beyond the initial 3 issue run, the writers need to take (or retake) a crash course in the show’s mythology. Those who are apt to read the comic are going to be the ones who know what’s what and whose who and they aren’t going to necessarily hang on for the ride if it ultimately doesn’t make any sense.

This comic does however, make me appreciate that Michael McMillian wrote the True Blood comic. Because he was both a fan and someone who worked on the show, the two canons flowed well together, so much so that the show later adopted some of his canon into the show’s. This title, however doesn’t have that luxury. The writer Colleen Doran may be an comic veteran, but I doubt she’s even seen an episode. I’m guessing that she was given a bullet list of Things to Know and is working off of that. It’s the only explanation I have for this otherwise odd plot choice.

I’m going to hold off on a rating for now, at least get through this arc before I make a judgement to see if continuity issues improve, but right now, I’m not sure I can recommend it.

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5 thoughts on “Digital Comic: The Vampire Diaries: Vervain 1/3

  1. I thought the art was good and I like the story.

    Why would Damon trust a Yankee deserter? Why would any southerner trust a Yankee deserter if that southerner deserted the Confederacy? They’d be very suspicious of one another.

    It’s canon that vervain is a very powerful herb for witches spells. Just repeling vampires is reason enough to need it.

    It’s canon that vervain was destroyed in Mystic Falls and that the Salvatore Bros control the supply. This could only have been done by magic.

    Damon says that times have changed and that the spell was cast when the vervain could be controlled 150 years ago. The spell made sense then and is not so workable now.

    It’s stated in the story that Julian pays a terrible price for doing this. I guess we’ll find out what that is.

    It’s canon that there is no vervain growing in the ground at Mystic Falls and that it is growing in the greenhouse. So, why complain that the story says the same thing?

    I really think you ragged too hard on the artist. He’s not a photographer, he’s an artist.

    • I don’t think Damon would trust him, but bringing the Yankee bit into it just seemed like an odd choice. Why not just distrust him for virtue of being a witch? Damon has never been hugely pro-witch (he’s probably not even pro-Bonnie so much as pro-Bonnie’s useful talent) nor has Damon ever been a gung-ho Confederate. If Damon’s going to find a guy not trust worthy, the witch thing must makes a more logical line of attack than the Yankee thing. It just felt like an out of character thing for Damon to say.

      The explanation they gave – that it’s no longer needed -is absolutely fine. And in fact, I am curious where they are going with the whole destruction of the worldwide supply, that could have interesting ramifications and why I’m still going to press on reading. Of all the things they could be exploring, I just find it a bit of an odd choice.

      And no, I don’t expect photo-realism, but it needs to look like the character and it doesn’t. If you need captions to tell who is who (Stefan actually kind of reminded me of a blond Elijah) something has gone wrong. Ultimately comics are an art-driven media and distracting art can pull me out of the experience.

      I do think the comic has potential, it’s just not the best comic I’ve read 🙂

  2. Pingback: Digital Comic: The Vampire Diaries: Vervain 1/3 | ghostgrrl007
  3. It makes sense to make a comment about the Yankee deserter to establish something aboutt he character Julian who we’ve just met. Isn’t that storytelling basics? And since we don’t know why Damon left the Confederacy, if Damon left for honorable reasons, then he would have double distrust of a witch who was a Yankee deserter! It establishes time, place, and character. Obvious to me!

    There’s a big difference between saying it’s not the best comic you ever read, and then saying you think the writer has never seen the show and must be reading talking points! That’s pretty harsh and unfounded. Since that statement is based on the comment that Damon distrusts a Yankee deserter, that is doubly not making sense to me.

    I disagree again about the art. Comic art is interpretive. I had no trouble telling one character from another.

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