(2005) Howard Chaykin, David Tischman and David Hahn, Titan Books, £7.99, trd pbk, 144pp, ISBN 1-84576-065-4
This is a digest-sized collection (stupid idea) of the Vertigo six-issue mini-series written by Chaykin and Tischman and illustrated, in a Love & Rockets-y kind of way, by David Hahn. This is a Sopranos style ripoff set against a backdrop where vampires are a "minority group" in society with at least one 'family', the Del Toros, involved in organised crime. The head of the family is killed and he wills control to his son Leto, who is also a Catholic priest. There's all kinds of intrigue as the murderer is sought and various vamps vie for control of the family businesses. I'm afraid it's all pretty obvious for the seasoned reader, and you should spot the ending coming a mile off. The vampirism is utterly wasted, so they may as well have just done a straight gangster story, though there are occasional backdrop details (like everyday products adapted to and marketed at vampires) that raise a smile. The best thing about the series were the lovely covers by Frank Quitely. On the one hand this is a cheap, fun read, but on the other it's really not up to Chaykin's best. One of the better bits is a sub-plot concerning the youngest of the Del Toros and his girlfriend, which turns a familiar story of betrayal in love on its head, but that's little comfort when the rest is so pedestrian. This'll appeal to vamp-fans, of course, and Goth-y girls, but I can't really recommend it. Please yourself...
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