I Managed to Score Volume 2
If you missed my review of the first volume, check it out here.
DayBlack Volume 2
By: Keef Cross
As I mentioned in my previous DayBlack review, DayBlack follows the story of Merce, a slave-turned-vampire who’s trying to survive in the modern world. Over the centuries, he has invented several clever tactics for staying alive undetected.
When I finished the first volume (which contains issues 1-3), I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue reading the series. I don’t remember what made me feel that way though, because when I saw the second volume on NetGalley I requested it so fast I surprised myself. I guess deep down I really wanted to know how Merce’s story continued.
While reading this volume, I realized I misspoke in my first DayBlack post. I was reading one volume as if it were a single story, but actually each volume contains three different issues. If I bought them individually instead of receiving the volume, I’d have to purchase three separate books. I realized my mistake when I made it to Issue Five, and after I noticed it I felt like I was binge-reading the story. I think that’s what eventually got me hooked.
Volume 2 (issues 4-6) begins in a strange place. I spent most of Issue 4 trying to figure out what was happening. I didn’t understand where Merce was or what he was doing, and his son seemed to have disappeared as well. I was satisfied in Issue 6 when his son came back, but just like in the first volume, his appearance was brief. DayBlack Volume 2 seems to be where Merce’s backstory begins to mesh with his present day activities. Two characters reappear from his past, and the reader is trying to figure out who they are while Merce tries to figure out why they’ve arrived. In other words, Merce is just as confused as the reader. I was confused; then I was angry that my confusion wasn’t being resolved. At the same time, Merce’s confusion dissipates and his anger grows. By creating this emotional involvement with the reader, Cross evokes feelings of empathy for Merce.
Based on what we’ve seen of other vampires in the series, Merce seems to be decidedly more human (this volume introduces a potential reason for that). He experiences grief at the loss of a past lover. He experiences anger and lust and longing. Most importantly, he feels remorse.
While Merce may outwardly seem guarded and haughty to the characters in the story, the reader knows he holds himself to a relatively high moral standard. When he makes a mistake he feels guilty. He feels a sense of duty towards his son, even if his son should technically be his worst enemy. He tries not to kill people. When he does kill someone, he does it only to protect himself.
Other vampires kill gratuitously, and they make a mess of it in the process. The other vampires we’ve seen so far in DayBlack don’t think twice about ending a humans life for even the smallest transgressions. The vampires manipulate humans, and when they’re done they discard them. It’s no wonder the vampire hunters are so intent on purging the Earth of this night-walking species.
We also learn one of Merce’s vulnerabilities in Volume 2. It’s not his kryptonite, but it’s clearly something that causes him great emotional anguish.
Just like the first volume of DayBlack, this one is not for the faint of heart, and it’s potentially NSFW. The scenes are more suggestive and more bloody. Partway through the volume, I actually started counting how many instances of barely-hidden nudity I saw. Male sex organs are generally covered by plants or by another person’s limbs. Female genitalia are covered by similar means, but their chests are usually visible, even through clothing. There were a couple instances where nothing but a stream of blood “covered” a woman’s nipples.
I don’t particularly want to see the graphic scenes. In fact, I feel guilty because I feel like I should be filling my mind with other things. I’m so involved in the story at this point, though, that I almost feel obligated to continue. An invisible force is coaxing me to follow Merce until the end. Like it or not, I’m in this for the long run.
I’m giving four stars (feathers? I need a personalized rating system) to DayBlack: Volume 2, not because I found fault in it, but because I can’t justify myself giving 5 stars for something so violent. That said, I enjoyed the story and I’m pleased by the art. I hope more comic artists follow in Cross’s footsteps and create art that doesn’t conform to European or East Asian standards. I cautiously recommend DayBlack: read at your own risk. It’s so different from other comics, though, that I think it’s worth the read even if it’s not your style.