Issue: Vescell #5 “Hitler’s a Bitch”
Release Date: January 4, 2012
Writer: Enrique Carrion
Art: John Upchurch
Letters: Rafael Diaz
Cover: John Upchurch
Publisher: Image Comics
I have an unnatural fascination with Hitler. And anything that involves femme fatales. It makes perfect sense, then, that I jumped on the opportunity to review Vescell #5, which is subtitled “Hitler’s a Bitch” and described on Image’s website as pitting the series’s protagonist against “evil Gestapo scientists, crooked cops, and Fraulein femme fatales.” The Vescell series follows former Icarus City Detective Mauricio Barrino (fondly called “Moo” by his girlfriend), who works for an international tech operation called the Vescell Company. The company is responsible for creating “Vtrans,” a process by which a person’s mind and soul is transferred from one body to another. As you can imagine, Vtrans made life hell for detectives like Barrino (if you can’t identify a body by his or her fingerprints, dental records, etc. how can you identify it?). But now Barrino works for Vescell investigating nefarious events in the seedy world of high end corporate espionage where he must navigate entanglements with the local police department, the Paranormal Authority Agency, and various other interested parties.
There are three things I’d like to stress about this comic book. First: it’s good. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s really good. Of course, you should take my predilection for reading anything involving strong, dangerous leading ladies and Nazi Germany into consideration when deciding whether to take my advice on this series, but that said I would put Vescell on a must-read comic book list without hesitation. Second, this comic book series is not for kids. And by kids, I mean anyone under, say, 17. If comic books had an MPAA-type rating system like movies do, Vescell #5 would be a hard R for sex, violence, language, and pretty graphic depictions of male genitalia. While artistically rendered by John Upchurch — his illustration style is the third point I’d like to emphasize here — the fact remains that the subject matter and language of this series are not appropriate for younger audiences, so don’t hand over a copy of Vescell #5 to your niece as an example of how beautiful comic books can be these days without taking a quick browse through it yourself.
To re-emphasize my third point, Vescell #5 — and the rest of the series, too, for that matter — is absolutely beautiful. Upchurch’s illustrations, which use color and shading rather than more traditional comic book inking to give characters depth, bring Enrique Carrion’s story to life with refreshing vibrancy and a consistency not usually characteristic of the more artistic illustration styles used in contemporary comic book series. The colors translate well to electronic representation, as well, so Vescell looks just as good online as it does in print.
The Vescell series is just one of the impressive comic books published by Image Comics these days, and I highly recommend checking out their entire lineup of ongoing series, including Witchblade, Fatale, and the latest round of Pilot Season comics.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars