- Posted by Johanna on September 18, 2011 at 10:54 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Dan Jolley; art by Alitha E. Martinez
- PUBLISHER: Graphic Universe; $9.95 US
After enjoying Made for Each Other and being disappointed by Under His Spell, I had put off reading this entry in the “My Boyfriend Is a Monster” series because it was about vampires. After all, there have been SO many teen vampire romances lately, they’re their own trend.
I shouldn’t have worried. This is another enjoyable entry in the series, with its own twists and unusual takes on the genre. The main improvement is the heroine, Vanessa. Instead of being a drip made special only by a supernatural boy’s interest in her, she has her own life and drive. In fact, she may be too motivated.
Vanessa knows how to improve everyone’s life — including a series of fixer-upper boyfriends who don’t want to get any better — except her own. She’s contemplating ending up at the local community college, like her sister. On a visit, she meets a gorgeous janitor who turns out to be a lot more. She winds up finding her purpose as well as a dynamite love interest.
The characters seem like real people, and they look like them, too. The art, with its detailed shading, is substantial and attractive. Alitha E. Martinez provides a distinct sense of place through lots of backgrounds. Writer Dan Jolley is careful to introduce key elements early on, so when they’re needed later, it’s a clever reveal, not an unpleasant surprise. I hate thinking “where did THAT conveniently come from?” when reading an action story climax.
Speaking of action, Martinez is good at that as well. But the story has more depth than just fighting off monsters. A particular early scene that struck me involves an English class discussion of Slaughterhouse Five. I didn’t believe that a high school would be teaching it these days, but I loved seeing such an interesting character bit, as Vanessa interacts with her teacher. The dialogue is snappy and distinctive throughout the book.
Events kept piling up, making for an exciting page-turner, and one I immediately wanted to reread after finishing. (That helps in matching up all the clues dropped early on.) Vanessa’s a very reasonable heroine, scared when she should be but also capable and determined. I’d like to see more with her, as suggested by the setup at the end of the book, and I’ll be looking for more of Martinez’s artwork. (The publisher provided a review copy.)