Vitriol the Hunter

cover35636-mediumAuthor: Billy Martin, Brent Allen
Illustrator: Billy Martin
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): Horror, Graphic Novel, Vampires, Urban Fantasy

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers: Low
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I used to be a huge Good Charlotte fan. I’m not going to lie about that or be ashamed. When I was in high school I was totally into them. So in a fit of nostalgia – and appreciate for some pretty decent artwork – I decided to check out Vitriol the Hunter. Musicians creating darker comic book series seems to be a thing and it actually seems to be a thing that works more times than not. I figured I would give Billy Martin the benefit of the doubt here.

Honestly, though, the artwork was what drew me in. I thought it looked really well done and I liked the old school sort of Saturday morning cartoon feeling I got from it. (Or was that just me?) So when I found out that Billy Martin was actually the person behind the artwork? Color me impressed. It looked like something that could be moving and dynamic. I really liked that. But the character designs, I felt, were all a little too smilar. It was hard sometimes to differentiate between minor characters and even some of the more prominent characters could get stylistically confusing. Vitriol’s character design in particular is really great but it’s not really unique. I mean, just look at the cover. The guy to the bottom left is sporting vaguely similar features – and other characters that pop up are even more similar. It distracted from the story rarely, I suppose.

Because let me tell’s a very nice looking comic over all.

And, to be fair, Vitriol the Hunter itself isn’t a bad comic. The world building was a bit confusing at times but the plot was generally easy to follow. You’ve got a world where vampires are real and they are waging a war of control over Basilika City where Vitriol lives and takes his vengeance on the vampires as a hunter in the night. There aren’t a whole lot of twists or really novel ideas but the story is solid. You’ve got the angsty hero and his girlfriend whose patching him up and scolding him for his recklessness. You’ve got a stocky Jim Gordon sort of police office trying in vain to rally his men against the vampires. And you’ve got vampire lord Barthus bringing together those who would hide in the darkness to bring the city to it’s knees. It’s a solid plot and it all comes together pretty well even if it isn’t really the most original plot out there.

Billy Martin and Brent Allen put together a pretty decent story and it’s a solid limited series. I do kind of wonder what sort of support it got from the old Good Charlotte fans, though. I think it stands pretty well on it’s own but if this had been published like… eight years ago it would have done WAY better. Still, I really really enjoyed the artwork. Billy Martin is talented. I will be interested to see what else he puts out in the future.

Final Thoughts: 
Not a bad entry into the overwhelming number of vampires stories out there even if it doesn’t really set itself apart much. But if you’re looking for a really well drawn book with a nice, campy, cartoon-y style then you should give this a look. Seriously, I really liked the artwork in this book. I can’t speak highly enough about it.

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