Dead Romeo #1 (of 6)
Writer: Jesse Blaze Snider
Pencils: Ryan Benjamin
Inks: Saleem Crawford
Letters: Travis Lanham
Colors: Joel Benjamin
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: April 1, 2009
Review by: Stephanie Shamblin Gray
Our thoughts: "Dead Romeo" is a rare horror comic series from DC about the romance between a back-from-hell 80’s rocker vampire and a hard-assed and doe-eyed goth girl…sort of. As the title of Issue #1 "Dead Romeo in Helter Skelter Romance – Act 1: They Meet" points out, Romeo and his love interest Whisper are meeting for the very first time. But Snider lets us know through the use of a reaper narrator that the two are ultimately destined for each other and that this will quickly turn from a romance to a tragic tale of blood and woe.
The protagonist, Romeo, has not come back from hell alone. There is a whole vampire crew that has been sent back on a mission, and they are a motley bunch of degenerates, indeed. This is a non-traditional vampire tale; meaning, it seems to pick up where other vampire stories end. It is not clear yet how or why the vampires were: (1) killed, (2) buried, and then (3) reanimated vampires again. Most of us have gotten accustomed to vampires just walking around brooding and looking hot. This style of vampire story will need a little more fleshing out, though, to see the whole picture.
The story is intriguing and exceptionally well written despite Romeo's cheesy pick-up lines. Admittedly, there are a couple of characters that seem a little too familiar and Romeo appears considerable older than the 22 years indicated on his headstone, but overall the characters are clearly defined and work well together. It would have been nice if Fearless had been around a little longer, though.
Something often overlooked is the layout of the panels. In this comic, each page turn is a different panel layout that works amazingly well. Snider is also doing a great job of dropping teasers as to where the story is going. In fact, it may be suspected that the very first page is a thin veil for the background and conclusion of the story.
"Dead Romeo" is a not just a cool new horror comic but a welcome step outside of DC's superhero comfort zone. Readers skeptical of not just a horror comic, but a vampire comic, from DC would do well to give this one a chance. I will definitely pick up the next issue.
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