Like zombies, the supernatural genre of werewolves and vampires can feel like it’s been done to death…pun intended. Love triangles are mostly done, unless you’ve moved on to some other type of creature, and the “hunt ’em and kill ’em” stories are pretty much the bread and butter of your average CW television show. So if you’re going to tackle this subject matter, you’d better have an interesting angle. Luckily, Kiss Me, Satan has that interesting angle and its name is Barnabus Black.
Starting off in scenic New Orleans, Barnabus informs us that, contrary to popular belief, the city belongs to werewolves. They run the prostitution, protection, and racketeering operations in the city, though it’s not uncommon to find vampires running about the place. While he’s giving us these little nuggets of exposition, he discovers that a demonic retrieval team have their eyes on him. Seems that Barnabus has some business that needs concluding “downtown”, if you know what I mean. They mean to take him “south of the boarder”, if you get my drift. They’re gonna take him to Hell. But while Barnabus is doing his damnedest to avoid the red-eyed squad hot on his heels, he’s approached by his heavenly handler, Jules. Seems that the Big Guy upstairs has a job for Barnabus. “What job?” you might ask. Protect four witches from being killed by the werewolves of New Orleans. They possess information, information that could topple the entire power structure of the werewolf pack. It’s anyone’s guess as to why Heaven would want to protect them, but Barnabus is definitely the guy for the job.
From a writing standpoint, Victor Gischler tells a tight, neat story that is ridiculously fun from start to finish. From Barnabus’ opening narration, which you could easily hear with a jazz saxophone in the background, to his spectacular save at the end, there wasn’t a moment that felt wasted. Gischler is out to entertain and he accomplishes that without losing sight of the actual story. He even manages to make the inner workings of the werewolf pack suspenseful and exciting. And aside from Barnabus, I gotta say that I instantly loved Jules and all his cherubic, gangster glory. I don’t know if he’s going to play a bigger part in the story, but I hope be does. There are also plenty of action pieces that set up exactly who Barnabus is and how he operates in this world of supernatural creatures. His confrontation with the werewolves attacking the witches is probably my favorite, not just for the narration, which wonderfully busts some myths Burn Notice-style, but for the art by Juan Ferreyra. It’s like the perfect combination of oil painting meets illustration. Ferreyra conveys plenty of motion and action, but every page is so beautifully rendered you want to hang it on the wall like fine art. It helps to have Eduardo Ferreyra as your colorist. He knows exactly when to make the colors pop, when to make them important enough to draw the eye, and when to keep them subdued enough that they don’t distract. It’s a winning creative team making a winning book.
Final Thoughts: Follow those witches…to Issue 2!