Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 1 (Resurrection and Danse Macabre) Paperback – 17 Sep 2009
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An SS officer is killed during the end days of World War 2, and reawakens in Resurrection, a world where everything is reversed and people grow younger instead of older, as a Vampire Knight. All the dead rise again here but as various kinds of monsters - ghouls, vampires and lamia making their appearances in this volume. Requiem remembers losing his love in his prior life and uses this to bolster a sense of chivalry not shared by his fellow Vampire Knights. This quickly leads him into conflict with Mortis and Claudia, though Claudia has other ideas of how to use Requiem. Requiem is taught by a hideous vampire baby older than all. Then they battle pirate ghouls who sail the skies in galleons, including Mother Terror, who was a famous nun in the real world... And all this before we get Dracula's extended family.
The idea of past sins being used to deal the fates of several real people makes Requiem an intriguingly sly read alongside the fantasy horror adventure. As usual Mills is telling us what he thinks of society and the fact is that he does not think much of it. The battles are violent and bloody and the world is over the top, which is just the way we like it.
The art by Ledroit is fantastic, nicely detailed and brilliantly designed, it straddles the borders of realism and cartoonistry, with a steady brushstroke that is sumptuous and decadent in just the same way the story is.
You may see echoes of Slaine and Nemesis in there, but why not? When it is as entertaining as this, I have no problem at all with that and will advise you read this and the second volume straightaway.
Ledorit is Nothing Short of a genius each page is so rich and detailed you can find yourself sucked into staring at one page for ages as more and more depth and detail becomes apparent.
My ONLY gripe is that Panini are not publishing these anywhere near fast enough as far as I am aware the series is finished in French. For those that do not wish to wait until the sun burns out for the panini volumes, Heavy Metal Magazine has translated and published upto Vol 7 of 8 into english in various issues of their publication.
Buy this it ROCKS !!
There are some nice ideas here. The characters all age in reverse, though whether this is down from their age at Earthly death or older is unclear. Requiem resurects as a descicated figure but after his two years of Vamypre Knight training (frittered away in just two pages, maybe we will get flashbacks to this but it makes this book seem unduly rushed for what is supposed to be a 12+ book series ) , Requiem looks decidely young.
It feels like the authors wanted to get their main character as goth posterboy material as quickly as possible, which is a pity because a character starting old and wizened and getting gradually more youthful as he gains in experience and power, taking life force from his victims, would be interesting. By the end of this first book Requiem is a young man so we only have teenage and child to go if they are taking this reverse aging line seriously. I'd have preferred more groundwork and a relaxed talepace here.
As is, Reqiuem is a wimpy Slaine dressed as a Goth Judge Dread. His "gift of metamorphosis" provides a warp spasm. He carries a borderline ludicrous shaped big sword. And he fights monsters. Ho humm. Seen it. As standalone works, Vol 1 and Vol 2 are often visually impressive but dramatically uninspiring. However, it is dangerous to judge an extended work solely by it's beginnning. There is potential here
I give "Reqiem Vol 1" 4 stars only on the assumption that it will up it's game and make reading Requiem rewarding in the long term. Unless the concept really appeals to you, or you already know you dig Ledroit's art, I'd recommend waiting for a few more volumes to be published in English before staring in on this.
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