There’s one thing I really don’t like about a good graphic novel – it’s over so fast! Even when I’m taking my time and trying to savour it, I still finish it all too quickly and now I’m a tad upset because I have to wait for the next one.
Yes. I admit it. I’m sulking. I’m sulking over a graphic novel.
I actually find it hard to get into comics or graphic novels or whatever you wish to call them and tried some well known ones (Watchmen, V for Vedetta, 300) before I finally came across Heavy Metal Magazine and comics I really enjoyed because when it comes to comics and graphic novels I’m not just interested in the story. If the art isn’t up to scratch I can still enjoy it if the story is any good, but it won’t rock my world and I won’t get excited over it.
This is one of the things I love about Requiem – the art. Olivier Ledroit is a great artist and the art in Requiem is so dark and detailed, it’s the first thing that actually drew me to the story (I have a tendency to flick through the Heavy Metal magazines when I first get them and decide what story I’m going to read first based on the art I see). So you have this gorgeous, dark imagery coupled with an interesting setting and some lines that actually make me laugh.
The story is about Heinrich who was a Nazi soldier in WW2 and his love affair with a Jewish woman, Rebecca. Usually I’d be all ‘ewww love affair’ but it’s so much more then that. Heinrich ends up going to Hell except Hell isn’t what one would expect. Not everyone, but some people, get resurrected as something else. Either ghouls, werewolves, lamias, zombies, or vampires. There’s a class order though and the lower classes are all but the vampires who follow a code, a twisted dark code that suits the setting, and command respect (normally through fear).
The aging process is different too. Rather then spend all eternity in Hell, the people resurrected don’t age, but grow younger until they reach infancy and vanish (I’ll leave out where they vanish to for anyone who wants to read it).
Also what someone is resurrected as is based on what they did in life, but rather then being the worst punishment for the worst crime it’s the opposite. The worst, most heinous acts, get rewarded and the better you were on Earth the worst your punishment. So these vampires that come back are the lowest of the low in real life. The monsters of civilisation, but they don’t get off scot-free. They’re still plagued by their old lives and their crimes.
Heinrich ends up being resurrected as a Vampire Knight and being renamed Requiem. The story follows him, his love affair with Rebecca, and the changes he goes through. I might be making it sound lame though because there’s more to it then that it’s just I don’t want to give it away. There’s lots of other little stories going on and it can jump from the present in Resurrection to the past when these people were still on Earth.
I highly recommend it if you’re into a darker, more sordid style of comic with great art. I say sordid not because it’s trashy and gratuitous when it comes to sex even though there is a deep sexual under current, nudity, some sado-masochism, innuendo, and well sex, but it’s not over run by it. It does really focus on the story, the sexual nature of it is really just part of the decadence of it because the vampires really are a decadent species in this book with their masked balls, clothing, blood and drugs.
Oh and I should add, because of all it’s violence (because there is a lot of violence), sex, and just the basic darker nature of it, it’s not going to be for everyone nor for younger readers. I love this sort of sado-masochistic, twisted, dark sort of stuff so naturally I’m going to love it, but not everyone will. Even if you don’t though I still recommend at least checking out the art if you can on Ledroit’s website (the image links to his site).