The Rumble in the Concrete Jungle!
It's not often that I admit my mistakes here on the ISB--mostly because I never make any--but I might've been a little too harsh in my review of Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #1.
If you recall from last time, I put everyone's fourth-favorite resurrectionist up against Marvel's own Dracula, Lord of the Vampires, who came out ahead in a best-of-five comparison, and that may not have been fair. After all, even in Anita Blake's native land of novels, Dracula's been around a long time, and by using an entire trade paperback for comparison, I could pick and choose the best bits from multiple issues to contrast to only one issue of Anita Blake.
So this time, I'm going to make things fair! Not only am I restricting the competition to one issue's worth of evidence, but I'm also giving her an opponent that lacks any kind of super-powers whatsoever, but has thematic ties to Anita's chosen enemies that ought to make things a little more even.
That's right, folks, tonight on the ISB, it's the brawl for it all! In this corner, it's the lady of the hour with the deathly pallor...
And her opponent, because you demanded it...
And for the record, tonight's awesome will be supplied by The Batman Adventures #13.
Batman, seen here wrecking the living hell out of a couple of Ubus, is drawn by the late, great Mike Parobeck, whose clean linework, incredible page layouts, and awesome storytelling style made him one of the most well-respected artists of the '90s.
Anita Blake, seen here cowering in fear of vermin, appears to have a lazy eye and thighs like a pair of Christmas geese.
Batman can look at two scratches in the floor, a busted mirror, and a notebook with some pages ripped out and determine not only exactly what happened, but where the parties in question are now:
Meanwhile, Anita Blake's called in by the local five-oh in her first issue to perform some crime scene hoodoo, but in #2, she reveals the true extent of her amazing detective skills:
Wow, you bet those are wererats? Was it the fact that they're giant, talking humanoid rodents that tipped you off, or was that just a lucky shot in the dark?
To be fair, though, she did determine it without having to look in the Monster Manual.
If there's one thing these two have in common, it's a knack for ending up with star-crossed lovers. In Batman's case, it's the beautiful and deadly Talia, daughter of immortal ninja and all-around super-badass Ra's Al-Ghul, a relationship slightly complicated by her devotion to her father's goal of killing two thirds of the Earth's population.
Anita, on the other hand, has... this guy.
Meet francophonic Vampire and strip-club entrepreneur Jean-Claude, whose dialogue is best read in a voice not unlike James from Team Rocket's. He leads Anita into some kind of trap, has his friends smack her around a little bit, and ends up giving her super-powers before tossing her into a dungeon to deal with sentient vermin. Apparently, he hangs with Aubrey.
After a pretty intense sequence of events involving a knife-fight, Anita Blake and Cap'n Wispy of the H.M.S. Lestat over there head out into the rain to enjoy a bit of quality time in what I assure you is the most Harlequin-Romancy scene of any comic I own:
Batman and Talia pretty much do the same thing. Except replace "in the rain" with "in the middle of a fire."
Anita actually makes a pretty strong showing in this issue: Not only does she manage to produce a hidden blade and shank Aubrey when things get a little Road House down at the club...
...but a few panels before she breaks down into shouting for help, she's able to deal with the wererats with some good solid kicking:
Batman, your response?
Batman hit that guy so hard that he fell out of the panel.
Holy Cats! With an unprecedented five-to-zero shutout, your winner is...
I'm sure this comes as a complete shock to those of you who haven't been paying attention over the past week, but I assure you: Science got my back.