Monday 2 November 2015

Reviewing the Evidence (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Death Vigil (Vol #1) by Stjepan Šejić

Title: Death Vigil (Vol #1) (US Link)
Author: Stjepan Šejić
Genre: graphic novel, fantasy, paranormal

A few starting notes:

Death Vigil graphic novel coverI received a free digital review copy of this graphic novel via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

I had very little expectation of this graphic novel - to be honest, I just went 'Ooh shiny!' and started reading it. It collects issues #1-8 of Death Vigil.


Demons exist. And Clara is having a very bad day. She's recruited into the Death Vigil - a team of demon hunters lead by the grim reaper, who prefers to go by the name Bernadette. They're almost like a family... who hunt demons. But what are the demons planning?

Best bits:

This book hooked me in. For the first few pages I was like 'Oh, this is ok, quite interesting...' and then somehow it was a hundred pages later and my coffee was cold. It's awesome.

The art is incredible - it has that fantasy feel that needs to be done right: and its done right. The figures are clearly where Šejić excels - though fans of visions from hell may make a good argument for his demons being the selling point here. I'm more into people than monsters, but that's just me.

The characters are complex and, perhaps most importantly, believable. Bernie rocks - she's just awesome, and beautiful, and funny. Sam is perhaps the most relatable - maybe because we see him when he's first recruited and now, 12 years later. He also makes me laugh, which is great.

The plot is complex and detailed - a whole world with well-defined rules, but never seems to get out of the control of the author - a pitfall that many a writer has fallen into. Šejić seems to know exactly what he's doing, meaning that we, as readers, don't have to worry about the quality suddenly suffering a noticeable drop.

Not so great bits:

Some people - particularly those who aren't fans of fantasy - might find this a bit much. I mean, I love the demons and the magic weapons - but I'm a nerd girl: this stuff is how we survive between TV series and movie franchises. I'm told that 'normal' people can sometimes find this alienating. I did find some of the battle scenes a little too close to video-gaming for my taste - but, again, to each his own, and lots of people would really love that.

If you have serious issues with depictions of demons, then there are a lot of them here, and you're likely to get seriously freaked out. There's also a bunch of gore and violence.

There was the occasional panel which hit a bum note - sometimes (very rarely) the background and the action seemed somehow disconnected, but I honestly can't put my finger on what was causing this, so it may just be my personal design preferences.

Also, I did have some issues with the digital formatting when a panel or artwork crossed the middle of the double-page - because I could only get the software to view it in single page form. That may've just been my general uselessness. I far prefer print - lovely, physical, touchable, print - anyway, as you all know; but I can't hold that against this book.


I could ramble on about this book for quite a long time. But the long and short is this: this is good quality artwork, well drawn (both figuratively and literally) characters, a complex and interesting plot, and an absorbing read. If you're a fan of graphic novels, especially of fantasy, then you could do a damn sight worse than to give this one a go.

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