Writer: Leah Williams
Artwork: Daniel Mainé
Colors: Bryan Valenza
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
Chastity finds herself part of a group of kidnapped women. But why were they taken, and who’s behind this? Escaping imprisonment is one thing – escaping where the prison is another! Then again, kidnapping normal women is one thing – kidnapping a half-vampire is another!
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
The last thing Chastity remembers was being pelted by countless tranquilizer darts, now she finds herself waking up due to insistent chatter in her ear and chained to the ceiling. While the girls were worried she was dead thanks to her cold skin, their captors still kept them alive thanks to intravenous bags plunged into their veins. And yet this was not the worst part since the jailers also got a thrill of caressing the unconscious bodies, especially the red headed dancer who was the centerpiece of the collection. However as she was informed of the situation, said guards entered and began taunting their helpless prisoners but usual paying special attention to the leather clad prize, approaching without thinking anything was wrong. It was only then did Chastity issue her warning: do not scream no matter what happens next … but she was talking not to the men but the other women who watched in amazement as she unleashed her primal fury. Gleaming fangs sank into an unprotected neck as she drank her fill, energizing formidable powers and easily snapping iron bindings to allow the remaining links to wrap around the another neck and bring their captivity to a violent end.
With her face still covered in fresh blood Chastity laid down simple ground rules: prisoners are the only ones who will leave here alive, we will show them no mercy, follow her lead, do not ask any personal questions and stay behind her. However as this half-vampire snapped the chains of her fellow inmates it was soon clear these fierce women were not ones who followed clear suggestions, even ones which were designed to save their lives and allow their savior to protect them. As they warily wandered down barren corridors and gruesomely pacified guards along the way, one of her so-called friends began slamming her foot into an iron door, only worried by what was locked behind and paying no heed to Jacks’ callous objections of making too much noise. With the ease afforded from a hybrid’s strength Chastity caved in the portal and found more people hanging from the ceiling, including young girls who were to be sold at an auction to be held later on tonight but now wanted to fight their way to freedom. As the group of hostages began to grow with each chamber released it was quickly apparent this feisty redhead would not be able to effectively protect them all, however, the option of leaving them behind until the ship was liberated was thoroughly rejected … therefore how can Chastity save them without harm coming to any of these helpless women?
As we adjust to the volatility of this feisty yet dynamic woman, the story itself seems to be leaning toward a lackluster approach in fully utilizing Chastity’s unique skillset by allowing writer Leah Williams to mold the narrative into something which imitates a familiar setting – hostages on a ship such as in movies Under Siege or Speed 2: Cruise Control. While this notion may allow our anti-heroine to vent her frustrations and allow for great action sequences upon the page at the same time this formula is wildly predictable, displaying developments that lead to pivotal conflicts which tend toward violence and repeatable events of biting, smirking and repeating. There is nothing that motivates the reader to stay after the story’s first act if you are going to witness cookie-cutter moments after they escape from the cells. One can understand wanting to expand incidents until the cliffhanger, but to utilize a pattern which only leads to standardized results within a blasé tale quickly becomes tiresome and events begin to tumble like dominoes. Then to make matters worse you have Chastity herself restrict anyone from asking anything about her or sharing feelings, this essentially blocks off any character development for fellow unnamed actors and more importantly the audience, thus boxing off Jack and considering her a cold isolationist allowing her actions to speak for themselves. If we cannot learn from her words and all she does is cruelly execute their captors to save children and other women, what hope is there for any meaningful connection due to limited information or background especially if you have never read a previous book of the title? It is almost as if Williams is trying to stunt any growth for Chastity before it ever begins, which is a sad fate for an interesting woman.
As with many series, it is usually up to a talented artistic team to compensate for an uninspired narrative and this issue is no exception, especially considering the limitations our main character has placed upon her own story not to expand a lacking history and motivations to save anyone aside from herself. However even as the fantastic illustrations of Daniel Mainé begin to open up the circumstances and Bryan Valenza’s tantalizing color selection livens up the drab surroundings with Chastity’s fiery hair, the book starts slow until she has her first meal. You cannot but focus on the women since their bright clothing stands out against a battleship grey room with the allure of a half-vampire dressed in fishnets and sexy leather contrasting excellently against her obvious frustration; then we have the moment which explodes the tension – a change from muted to an eruption of action lines and gradients of oranges to reds leading up to what the audience expects from Chastity. It is pleasing to see the tease Mainé uses by subtly changing eyes to pools of darkness, fangs lashing out and Valenza blending Jack’s crimson hair with splashes of blood splattering everywhere as she sates her thirst – you can almost smell tinges of rust as the air becomes contaminated by chunks of flesh and links of iron.
To witness this powerful woman ferociously ravage her prey with such coldness is captivating even as we watch her luscious curves transform into a beast as the remnants of her feast dry upon her steaming skin. One cannot but shake their head in fascination and disbelief as Chastity allows these sanguine stains to decorate her as a badge of honor, not taking a moment to clean herself seems to display how much she now enjoys the game and smile by what casual value she places in the jailers’ lives. And yet sadly even within all of these wondrous action shots there is a tepid monotony due to the cookie-cutter repetition, which is thankfully broken once we arrive upon the phenomenally nuanced layout summoning the climax of the story – a double-page reminiscent of a side-scrolling video game display; (when I asked Mainé for details about fantastic menagerie of frenetic audacity he told me this brilliant panorama took almost three days to complete … speaking to his wondrous dedication to his craft and attention to detail for a moment which most readers may never fully enjoy if not for the variety of hidden gems to find for those patient enough to delve the marvel of this supreme challenge.) If it were not for this dedicated duo this issue may have been passed over by the disinterested, but thanks to their hard work you can fully appreciate the inventive rewards which they have concealed within a clichéd story.
Chastity seems to be crawling forward at a measured pace, with a story which is hesitant to disclose any information about our main actress in order to slow down what could have been a promising adventure. For those unfamiliar with the character it can be frustrating and may lead to abandonment unless the story refocuses on development and opening a window into her past to show how Jack has become what she is today to those who depend on her strength. It is only thanks to the sensational artwork of illustrator and colorist who make this title worthy of consideration, but if changes cannot be made to widen our interests even their marvelous talents may not be enough to save what could be a memorable series.
Rating: M (for Mature)
Released By: Dynamite Comics
Release Date: October 16, 2019