Plot & Art: Daniel Mainé
Script: Erik Burnham
Colors: Bryan Valenza
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
What They Say:
Chastity is up to her elbows in blood – some of it is even her own! – and she’s out of allies and out options. Forget saving the group of human trafficking victims she’s given her all to protect – she’s going to have a hard enough time getting off an uncharted (for nefarious reasons) island she’s stranded on. Is this it for Chastity Jack?
Content (please note that portions of review may contain spoilers):
After finding themselves stranded on the island Calypso, Chastity and allies finally confront the person behind the human trafficking ring, which they inexplicably been entrapped, a shameless woman named Valentine. And while she may have hidden behind mercenaries the last time they met, on this opportunity this vile villainess does not hold anything back in what she considers clean up after acceptable losses, and this is especially true as she ruthlessly murders Agent Jimmy in her true form – that of a werewolf. With her lupine features now in full display and claws dripping in blood, Jack finds herself not in the best of condition to face this threat, even with the headless corpse of her friend providing all the motivation to avenge his death. However as this struggling protector looks back on her life, all she can remember is the last time she was forced to face someone people considered a monster … and this feral beast is nothing in comparison to herself – the true monster.
But as a badly beaten and bleeding Chastity proudly voices her defiance, it is only now does the egocentric and power hungry Valentine reveal the true depth of her perversion to the beast inside, undergoing a full transformation into something which is more primal than human. And yet as the hunger of a wolf sparks an indomitable compulsion to utterly destroy anyone who she faces, a powerful lunge nearly disembowels her red headed opponent and quickly dismisses any advantage the adrenaline declaration may have had on her chances for winning. Even a pitiful barrage of crossbow arrows serves no deterrence and instead only angers the lycanthrope even more, resulting in an endless assault of savage attacks, until she grows tired of the game. Now tossed aside like a toy which its owner has lost any interest, all Chastity can do is watch in stunned silence as this savage predator sates her hunger upon the three feeble foes who remain – Cassia, Molly and Dia, all who can do nothing against such an unflinching opponent. But as Jack now regrets turning the trio and bringing them into this one sided conflict, it seems there is nothing she can do against this unrelenting hunter, aside from wait for death – but that is not how Jack surrenders when so much is at stake.
With the series finally coming to a fulfilling end, the title began with a narrative which was not very fulfilling, lacking engrossing moments which made you want to relate to the characters, and this was especially true for readers who did not know anything about Chastity aside from being a half vampire. As the story progressed it appeared as if this red headed anti-hero did not have any motivations to save anyone but herself, and this was proven true even as she begrudgingly accepted the other prisoners’ help and acquiesced to save everyone, but with the somber caveat of not wanting to make friends with anyone. However after writers Daniel Mainé and Erick Burnham take over this emotionally distant title, the story develops a gratifying change by which we are welcomed to a subtle shift from which Chastity adapts to her new environment; instead of keeping herself distant in her treatment and protection of the other women, Jack slowly begins to care for her fellow hostages, allowing them to get closer to this ferocious savior, all as she struggles with new responsibilities in trying to keep everyone alive. This change in the story is refreshing when compared to the callous nature Chastity initially displayed – we now have someone who is determined to save everyone instead of a person who is allowing them to accompany her on trip to freedom. The opening coldness which Jack displayed was unsavory, but as we watch her attitude change and even trust others with her power, this narrative gradually portrays our heroine as someone who is worthy of trust and expands upon the desire to defend those need her help, much to the gratitude of everyone who may be new to the series and those who want to see change in an established character.
However as we watch this memorable end come to fruition, I can sincerely state the main reason I was drawn to this title was due to the captivating artistry of Daniel Mainé, with his wondrous ability to combine alluring beauty within a dynamically aggressive woman who is not afraid to express herself, even if her outbursts may end in a messy display of provocative violence. And while we are dazzled by these bloody melodramas, it is grounding nature of Bryan Valenza’s colors which keep us fixated to the page, with each panel an excellent mélange of somber shadows, splashes of crimson gruesomeness, explosions of colors to emphasize stunning violence, all sprinkled with seductive touches of skin to keep our attention glued to our fiery heroine. And yet it is this combination of fantastic abilities that stirs such profound angst within this finale, expressing the overwhelming sense of hopelessness which we find ourselves as Chastity is suffering at the claws of Valentine. The composition of the opening page is breath taking: blood selectively splattered across the wolf’s hands, our heroine trying desperately to keep herself conscious and the most horrifying sight – the lifeless corpse of Agent Jimmy with his head lying in a pool of blood and eyes rolled up in ultimate surrender. You cannot but critically wonder if this is the end, all thanks to this beautifully composed splash, encompassing so many emotional triggers that the following flashback compresses those feelings of hopelessness into a profoundly moving image of Chastity hunched over in agony, made all the more dismal thanks to a suffocating cloak of shadows draped over her shoulders. And while we are aroused by her glowing eyes of denial, one cannot but giggle once the villain fully transforms, appearing at a glance to be a roaring wookie instead of a fearsome werewolf. But this where the real fight begins with Mainé keeping the audience on the edge of their seats thanks to a smooth transition between powerfully painful blows and allowing Valenza’s striking application of colors to extenuate each shattering blow, every splatter of blood and all of the action lines to provoke within our minds how one sided this conflict has become. The primal nature of the struggle is riveting, allowing us to feel each cutting strike as we wince at Jack’s silent pain, always knowing she will prevail at the end, no matter what the cost. However even after all this misfortune, you cannot but smile as we see the girls walk off at the end to enjoy themselves, and off to the side there is a fitting tribute to original creators Brian Pulido and Steven Hughes, with their names marking a bookstore’s sign, as if to acknowledge this story would not be possible without them.
Chastity may have begun as a plodding and unfulfilling story, but as we witness this glorious end, it has evolved into a meaningful tale about a fiery woman who does not know when to give up. Thanks to the brilliantly composed illustrations and striking application of anchoring colors, the series was never without something to entertain readers and that is a wondrous achievement. However one cannot but hope the future for this title takes a more provoking manner in constructing the narrative, otherwise the next series may not end as well as this one does without a talented artistic team.
Series Grade: A
Rating: M (for Mature)
Released By: Dynamite Comics
Release Date: February 26, 2020