I’m not quite sure why I didn’t try this series when it first released. Stjepan Sejic is easily among the best artists in the comic industry, and his deviant art page displays a good sense of humour and competent storytelling. Now he’s writing and drawing Death Vigil, a series about a group called the Vigil. They fight against necromancers and demons. It’s kind of an awesome idea for a plot, and now that I’m caught up, I can say that the first three issues are fantastic.
The plot has so far teased that an ancient order is building an army of necromancers for something sinister, but it wasn’t made clear exactly what their plans were. This issue at least partially reveals that plan, through a new character introduced in this issue working to translate ancient tablets. Her basic personality, motivations and dedication are all explored enough to make her a compelling character in only 6 pages of story, told both through her dialogue and the art. It takes a special skill to create a villain so quickly that you can almost hope gets something out of the whole ideal, yet that’s what Sejic accomplishes here.
The rest of the issue divides its time between plot building, exploring the relationships between characters and having a few good action scenes. All of these scenes are at least entertaining, whether it’s the distrust between Bernie (The Reaper) and a necromancer who happens to be allies with the Vigil, or the deep friendship between the physically youngest Vigil member and the necromancer’s girl who is, well … very powerful. There’s one particular scene where Clara receives a call from a friend who’s worried they’ve joined a cult that is probably the funniest thing I’ve read this month, fictional or not.
Sejic’s art is fantastic. Even though every member of the vigil has white hair, their easily recognizable through their clothing, shades of their skin and even their complexion, which helps you figure out how old they were when they joined the Vigil (they don’t age after they join). Expressions do a great job at showing emotions, and even the dialogue balloons can add to it. When The Reaper first addresses the necromancer she hates, her words are in a skull-shaped balloon. Clara’s newfound powers are visually interesting, and the look on her face in the previously mentioned cult scene is priceless. But where the art truly shines is when the monsters start showing up. There’s a good variety of beasts, from a tentacle monster covered in fangs and glowing red eyes to a weird white creature with two sideways mouths bulging from its chest.
I know it’s boring to gush about two comics in a row, but it’s always easier to write a review for a comic when you can actually think of things to say. The only negative review I could have given would be for Justice League United 5, and it was hard enough to care that I probably couldn’t come up with enough words for a review. There’s plenty to talk about with Death Vigil 4 without spoiling the fun and pretty much everything about it works. So far, this is a delightfully weird series. Anyone who could see themselves enjoying a story about a group of resurrected people with magical powers fighting necromancers, demons and giant tentacle monsters should check this out.