Thriller and chiller. “Requiem, Chapter One: Deep, Dark, Brown” is the title of the first issue of this new Vertigo series. The heroine is learned about literally on the run. By the end, she is profiled while she is profiled. Louisiana is the setting, a place that always had some type of zombies and ghosts roaming somewhere in the swamps of the nation’s imagination.
The tension between the swift action and the slow narration works. Hinds perhaps tries too hard to set the tone, but his attempt at prose poetry works as well as Cowan’s strong-as-ever style. Hinds, given his own “On The Ledge” column, Vertigo’s text spotlight, discusses his attempt: “For DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD to truly come alive, I had to soak the series in that [New Orleans swinging] reality. I wanted to find a narrative style that captured the thematic richness of New Orleans music, the pain and the joy, as well as the structural aspects of the town’s songwriting, particularly with regard to jazz—the steady reprise of a verse structure, the improvisionational flights of a solo.” Yes, appreciated, but less is more in comics (and perhaps jazz, too).
But alive it is, and moving fast. The past is rising up out of the fresh mud of post-Katrina New Awlins, dirty and revealing. Self-discovery carries its own terrors and, in fiction, spilled blood always seems to follow. This first issue does a good job of setting up the pieces in ways that feel real.