Plot & Art: Daniel Mainé
Script: Erick Burnham
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
Caught in a human trafficking ring, trapped in a prison with no way out, Chastity’s finding that fangs and strength aren’t nearly enough (and her sarcasm isn’t helping things either!) Of the few people she can maybe trust, can she really depend on any of them? On the other hand, beware a semi-vampire scorned!
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
When this group of frightened women met a charming man who was about to be torn apart, the last thing they expected was revealing himself to be an agent from the C.I.A. named James Hugh, and even now their fiery protector Chastity still does not trust him. But as he tries to gain their assurance by leading these escapees to a promised cache of weapons, his charming smile does little to insure they keep the element of surprise and cautions they should move silently. However this is not the way for Jack and uses one of her friends as a lure, bringing a few straggling guards within their path and in range for a quick and bloody strike. Once they finally reach the armory which the operative promised and the girls begin properly arming themselves, this hybrid finds some surprising gear for herself and leads the assembled to the next area being the cargo bay, but things are moving too smoothly – there is no resistance from those trying to capture their escaped merchandise.
It is only then does her careful optimism break as a familiar voice answers her caution, the caustic woman who served as receptionist of the talent agency now leads a small army of mercenaries to pacify their problem. With guns cocked at the ready this ruthless leader gives the former prisoners two options: return to their prison or learn what it means to resist and be killed on site – of course she knew what the answer would be, but had the callous foresight to give them a chance all out of ill intended malice. As both sides gave the order to fire, it was readily clear which had more practice in wielding their weapons of war, with the ladies carelessly missing and James shouting for them to take aim before shooting. However Chastity was who broke the stalemate, for although she was slowly dispatching several of their resistance via crossbow, it was taking too long and she hungered for some hand-to-hand combat. After a hurried cease fire was ordered the furious half vampire leapt into the fray and readily ripped her opponents apart, with these helpless men unable to adapt to this vicious fighting style until the one Jack sought stood shocked by this turn of events. But with the end now perhaps within view, can this primal predator protect what she seeks to protect or is there something hidden within plain sight that she did not expect?
After our fiery red head stated in the last issue she would not answer any personal questions, I was afraid that would be the end of anything we would learn about our heroine, even if primal actions did speak louder than her lack of words. For those who are familiar Chastity this notion might be fine but those, like myself, who do not understand the character this absence of background information proved to drag the story down, even if Mainé’s excellent artwork did provide a bloody canvas to conjecture about her propensity toward violence. But now that aforementioned Daniel Mainé has taken up the challenge of providing plot for the story and Erick Burnham is creating a script for the actors, the possibilities for the title have expanded and become more fleshed out to those ignorant to this vicious half vampire. But the most significant improvement is an internal monologue, which helps readers who do not know Jack learn about the woman behind the massacre upon the ship, and how she thinks throughout the tale. While one could glean some information from dialogue of how the group relates to each other through speech, to hear our protagonist’s thoughts and motivations which drive the ferocity helps to construct a better understanding for us Chastity novice readers and also provides context to those actions. The old proverb of actions speaking louder than words may be true, but to add those crucial verbal cues in conjunction with the flavor of this hybrid’s attitude of the moment fleshes out every event so much that is propels the plot more smoothly. However it is the specificity of this interaction between script and plot which allows a smoothness of transition, with each moment seemlessly merging into the next and not as if it was a static storyboard but more akin to what one may see on the big or small screen, and thus allows the audience to enjoy the interaction on a new level of delight.
But now fueled with his new responsibility of specifying how the story is constructed instead of following a monotonous structured page of suggestions, illustrator Daniel Mainé is now able to build from a foundation which is more fluid to what he knows will work for a scene and not restrained to what is written, evolve his fantastic imagery to suit his ideal of what will communicate the strongest setting. However of course he must stay within what was set forth within the narrative, but he still has the ability to adapt events to what will prove to be the best within each moment. And while Mohan’s emotive colors are still confined to a dark and stifling cargo ship with somber backgrounds, when the group is centered within a panel the flesh tones warmly stand out against the coldness of battleship gray and dingy shadows. One cannot but watch with morbid fascination as Chastity leads these frightened captives across an uncertain battleground, her shock of crimson hair so captivatingly crowning her alluring curves, all as they become splattered in another shade of red which signals of death. Mainé’s ability to isolate the rigidity of the steel shell surrounding the prisoners allows the reader to develop an emotional attachment to these women, wishing for them to survive as their beautiful savior clears obstacles even as they must swallow the grotesqueness of what they must witness in order to survive. And yet it is this violence which makes their struggle rewarding, even with gore restrained you know there is death happening all around the girls, but they still forge forward knowing they must surrender their innocence of not wanting to kill all to make it out alive. The determination on their faces portrays their willingness to do anything but it is the scene of Chastity facing off with that woman who started this whole escapade in the first place which makes the endeavor worthwhile, even if we know it will never be that easy.
Chastity has found its way into a title which now provides new readers with a reason to proceed forward – a fluid story and narrative that surrounds us with a material which is relative to the uneducated. While we may have had those elements before, they were obscured within information which was hidden behind self imposed character restraints but now thanks to a change in story telling, all can now enjoy what may have been available to a choice few. The openness of both script and plot now avails us to a new view and hopefully the future will be as illuminating for us and this captivating red headed fighter.
Rating: M (for Mature)
Released By: Dynamite Comics
Release Date: November 20, 2019