Thursday, 30 August 2012

National Comics #1: Looker review

When you don't show up on film, and burst into flames in sunlight, fashion model isn't the easiest career. So mannequin turned vampire Emily Briggs tells the world she's been struck down by a form of Lupus and swaps the catwalk for a talent agency named Looker. She rarely appears in the daytime, but at night? That's another matter.

At night she can move around the city freely, tracking down the creepy character who's killed one of her girls and abducted another. And when she meets the mystery murderer it's a case of red in tooth and claw. But mostly tooth.

I was prepared to dislike this comic. After all, the least interesting thing about the previous version of Looker - a member of Batman's team of Outsiders - was her latter-day vampire iteration. The fascinating facet of Emily Briggs was that she got what she always wanted, good looks, and found that life didn't suddenly become a bed of roses. She was a superhero but still had the unhappy marriage, the unsettled personality. This version of Emily, though, has always been gorgeous. She's single, so no heartbreak. She went from mortal to Undead without ever being a superhero, without ever wearing one of the most horrible costumes in creation. This girl has style.

She also has my heart. Sure, it's a shame that the Outsiders Looker likely won't appear now, but then again, I doubt anyone was clamouring to revive her for DC's New 52. Taken on her own merits, the new Emily Briggs is a find. A bitch in life, dying brought out the humanity in her; rather than seducing the world, she now has a few close friends, and she looks after them. She's also witty, thanks to writer Ian Edginton in this cleverly plotted and scripted one-off.

Business associates Roma and Charles know Emily's secret, while blind ex-cop and sculptor of the Weird Paul is in the dark. Of the three, I particularly like Paul, because he's drawn by Mike S Miller as slightly older than Emily, with a crinkly humanity - should Looker return after this 'pilot episode', I hope he does too.

Miller finds an appealing balance between temptress and girl next door, and conjures up Emily's high-class world with sharp, economic lines (click on image to enlarge). I prefer Miller's Emily to Guillem March's version in the clever, gorgeously rendered cover illustration - that lady's just a little too sleek for my liking. Colourists Rex Lokus and Antonio Fabela bring the bright to the catwalk and the dark to the city streets, while Emily is both red and dead.
Emily doesn't manifest many of the traditional vampire powers - she has fangs with which to bite, but mainly she uses TV budget-friendly acrobatics to get her business done. She is, though, able to see memories connected to the blood she's drinking, which helps the story along.

Her adversary, mind, is a nightmare, with a gimmick that would look tremendous on screen. And if he's too scary for you, there's a lovely puppy to calm the nerves.
Emily's powers are secondary - what's interesting is the character and the set-up. I'd like to see more of Emily, follow her as she tracks down the stranger who turned her. If this issue is as successful financially as it is artistically, perhaps we'll see that.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds like a surprisingly good book, considering the character & subject matter. If I see it cheap somewhere down the line, I might pick it up.

    Love the clever cover!

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    1. Please do pop back and let us know what you think, if you get a chance!

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  2. Of course, coming from noted homophobe Mike S Miller, I won't be caring too much if its cancelled soon.

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