Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pinnochio: Vampire Slayer and The Great Puppet Theater (comics)

Writer: Van Jensen
Artist: Dusty Higgens
Original Graphic Novel

After reading the last volume, I was all about Pinnochio slaying vampires. So of course, once I realized a sequel was already out, I jumped right on it. The follow-up to the first volume is not quite as good as the debut offering, but it's still a fun book that can easily shift between drama and humor at the drop of a hat.

We start where we left off. Pinnochio is still out there breakin' noses and stakin' vampires. Before long, we find out he's not the only living puppet out there; seems there's a whole host of them, all who consider him their brother and all of whom are alright with the idea of killing some filthy bloodsuckers. Unfortunately, things inevitably go wrong, misunderstandings are had and allies are lost.

To top it off, when things turn bad, Pinnochio finds himself hit with what should be a blessing, only to find that - considering his profession - it resembles more of a curse.

I'm not sure how far Van Jensen and Higgens plan to take this series - I could easily see it being a long runner if they wanted - but if they plan on a trilogy this would be the "Empire Strikes Back" of the series. Things start off pretty good in the wake of their prior victory and quickly go downhill from there. By the end, Pinnochio has lost several allies, his girlfriend and any fighting chance against his enemy. He's survived, but he's definitely lost this battle; by the last page you're left wondering just how he's going to turn it around. The last sequence is a pretty great sequel hook.

Given the subject matter, it's easy to see why this installment relies more on drama than anything else. Even so, it was a bit of a shock to realize the book wasn't quite as funny as the last one. It's an understandable shift, but even still, I think it hampered the volume somewhat; part of the fun of the first volume was that it was funny as well as action packed. The book is merely good as opposed to last volumes home run.

The Score: 7.5 out of 10

Not quite as fun as the first volume, but The Great Puppet Theater is still well worth your money.