Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Complete Bite Club – review

Written By: Howard Chaykin & David Tischman

Illustrated by: David Hahn

First Published (complete Volume): 2007

Contains spoilers

‘The Complete Bite Club’ is made up of two DC comics, ‘Bite Club’ and ‘Bite Club: Vampire Crime Unit’ and is set in the Miami of a world where vampires are not only real but are classed as an ethnic minority.

The graphic follows the fortunes of the Del Toro crime family, a vampire family who are made up of the three types of vampires. Alphas, such as Eduardo Del Toro the head of the family who is assassinated at the head of the first story, are those who contracted vampirism by being bitten by vampire bats and contracting a strain of the virus that creates vampires.

Betas, such as his children Eduardo Jr, Risa and Leto, are vampires born naturally of vampire parents. Finally there are Omegas, such as Eduardo Sr.’s wife Arabella, mortals made vampiric via a human vampire’s bite.

Following the assassination of his father, Leto (who has joined the priesthood) returns to the family on a leave of absence – only to discover that his father has named him his heir and successor. The family are being watched by Michael Fortine, a detective with the Miami Vampire Crime Unit and a self-confessed hater of vampires.

The second story is more from the point of view of the crime unit, though the Del Toro family are still a central aspect, but I don’t want to go into the plot as it will spoil the first story. Suffice it to say the story is filled with plots and counter plots as one would expect from a story that is essentially a gangster story – just one where the gangsters happen to be vampires also.

The vampirism gives the infected strength, heightened senses and longevity. Whether sunlight is a factor does not seem to be built into the story other than to briefly mention sun screen factor 150. The Del Toro fortune is made through the drug plasmagoria that, if overdosed, can explode the user’s heart.

I was a little unsure, as I first flipped through the graphic, with regards the artwork, it seemed a little simplistic and I wasn’t convinced with the colourwashes through the pages. That said, as I read the novel, the artwork actually really fit the story and by the end of it I couldn’t have accepted a different style.

The story itself is designed for a mature reader, with plenty of sex, including incest, gory murder and obscenities. Again, this fit the subject matter but, if such things offend, you have been warned.

All in all a very satisfying graphic novel read. 7.5 out of 10.


Mateo said...

I don't think I liked it as much as you. As you said, it's really a gangster story where they happen to be vampires. I don't really think of it as a vampire story too much; they barely touch on the mythology and it doesn't play a significant role in the plot. With that being the case, I'm not into mafia stories so I didn't care for this too much.

There's a sequel by the way, which is more of the same. So if you like this one, you might like that one too.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers Mateo.

sometimes expectation can help or hinder enjoyment. I picked this up, virtually sight unseen. When I flicked through - as I intimated - the art put me off a little and my expectations were lowered.

As I read it, however, the art very much grew on me and I was really sucked into the story - blowing apart my expectations.

I did find that whilst Bite Club almost had the vampirism as a secondry issue, "Vampire Crime Unit" actually used the vampirism a lot more.

Curious, re the sequel however, do you have the name.

Incidentally the 30 days round up I promised a couple of weeks ago will be posted in the next post.