COMIC BOOK REVIEW: ESMEE #1 / AUTHOR: VICTOR WRIGHT / ARTIST: ARIEF MUSLIAN, CHRIS ARIESWENDHA, CHIMERE CAVIL / PUBLISHER: GEEKY COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Jack the Ripper has been everywhere and done everything. Merely a few interpretations of him range from a surgeon, a police officer, a Freemason, a member of the Royal family and most male Victorian celebrities, to an alien-abducted inquisitor and a teleporting immortal badass possessed by a malevolent creature of pure energy.
While the portrayal of the infamous murderer as a vampire has been done a few times before, the twist of Esmee is that the killer is the eponymous female vampire, while the man Jack is her stepfather whom she frames for the murders of out vengeance. This first issue acts as an origin of sorts, beginning the story of how Esmee became a vampire with her mother falling for the ham-fisted manipulations of Jack, the world’s least subtle conman, before being murdered for her wealth.
Unfortunately, the pacing and structure of the story are way off. Months and years skip by one page to the next while telling us nothing of the omitted events, in particular one moment that sees Esmee’s mother on her deathbed in Marseille, while the next jumps forward several years and the meek and naive debutante has suddenly become a tattooed corseted babe prowling London rooftops to descend on unsuspecting prostitutes, a leap so jarring you wonder if the comic’s pages were arranged out of order.
The artwork, however, is far more impressive. Rich and colourful but stopping short of cartoonish, the bright lights of a French country manor contrast wonderfully with the dark shadows of Whitechapel backstreets, evoking the horror and grim humour of the story’s tone.
Esmee is a good idea let down by poor execution, but now that the introductory stuff is out of the way hopefully the next issue will see the story begin to streamline itself.