Vitriol The Hunter #1 (IDW)

Vitriol1  

2.5 / 5 – Nice art but the story falls short

  Here we have a mash-up combination of a futuristic city with vampires and monsters that were actually collected by the city to attack its enemies.  “To carry out this mission, Basilika City formed the cryptic mythos unit, which was led by a brilliant scientist tasked with creating an unbeatable army of nightmare creatures.”  As you could likely guess, those creatures rebelled 15 years ago, and the son of that scientist is battling them.  The set-up is neatly described over the first three pages over an action scene of our hero, Nimirus Vitriol, human being, kicking monster butt.

The art by Billy Martin (inks by John Wycough and colors by Jeremy Treece) caught my eye on this book.  It is a fun, cartoony style with exaggerated features on the characters.  After our opening, the Vampire Big Boss (I think Barthus but only named on the second to last page so could refer to someone else) claims he wants the humans to suffer and assigns Korbius to make them fear the day as well as the night.  We then cut over to Vitriol receiving treatment from the daughter of his former mentor.  There is the typical tension where she criticizes his pushing too far and taking too many pills (of some indeterminate value).  We discovered he has been medically enhanced by her father.   He then joins a battle of cops and monsters and barely fends them off.  We find the police are escorting a serum involved with creating lycans.  They are concerned with what could happen if the bad guy got it but are unclear why they don’t destroy it.  They also wonder how Barthus knew to set up the ambush.  As they pull away, you see the monsters watching from an overpass.

I use the term “monster” because while I know some of them are vampires, it is unclear what the rest of them are.  Further, there is no attempt to explain how vampires/monsters work in this world.  All we know is they operate at night and want to rule during the day (presumably the serum will play into that), some have lived for over 1,000 years and they like blood.  In the fights, some of the creatures are beheaded, some are shot, and one has his neck broken.  Further the book does not make it clear if Vitriol’s identity as the son of the scientist is known or not.  While no individual ambiguity is fatal to the book, the cumulation of them is a real detriment.  The set-up seems not particularly original, the dialogue is flat and when introducing a new world, the reader needs to know the rules.  You can break that rule, provided there is some other hook to grab the reader.  While the art is pleasing, it is not that good.  This is written by Billy Martin (penciller) and Brent Allen.  I did not realize that Billy Martin is a celebrity (member of the pop music act Good Charlotte) until after reading the book and seeing it in the IDW back matter.  His art contributions work but the story needs another pass.

andrew@comicspectrum.com
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