National Comics: Looker
It is fitting that this book ends with an ad for Scott Snyder’s American Vampire because that is the book that it most resembles: both contrast gruesome depictions of the Vampire with a glamorous world of entertainment – there it was Twenties Hollywood and here it is the high stakes world of fashion, murder and modeling – though one is written like literature and the other a classic era comic, one sprawling and the other superficial.
Looker tells the story of Emily Briggs, a big time supermodel, who is turned but unlike every other busty babe attacked in a horror tale she doesn’t simply swoon or lie down and die, instead she uses the powers granted to her to start an agency and weed out all of the corruptive influences in the industry. What those powers are we are left to presume and the hits she makes on the bad guys are left to quick cut-outs to convey; instead the comic spends its time fleshing out the cast of characters Emily has supporting her.
With the smart and feisty supermodel side-kick, the classic Alfred-esque manservant and a blind, sculptor boyfriend Looker‘s world is an exceptionally well rounded one for a single issue story, but I wonder at what cost. These characters all have good potential, there are plenty of compelling stories that could be told about them and so normally this would be a plus, but in the case of a one-shot it seems sort of besides the point; then again if this issue does function as a back door pilot it will leave writer Ian Edginton with an already established foundation and plenty of options to explore.
I’m not sure though what the chances of that happening are, after all every National Comics story can’t become a series, and so I would have preferred a little more time spent on the story of the book and the effect that it has on Briggs. Two models have gone missing, one from under Emily’s wing, and she senses something supernatural about the disappearance. Like Kid Eternitys this concept could easily have made for a clean one and done, especially since the place that Ian takes it in the end is so interesting and visually stunning; you may think that you’re over Vampires, but Looker offers other much less familiar beasties and they’re beautiful.
In fact all of the art by Mike S. Miller is suitably styled, his monsters mean looking and his supermodels super sexy; personally I would have perhaps preferred less shots that stared down
Emily’s décolletage or up her dress, less perverted post, but this is a comic and so a super heroine is always going to be objectified. Given the story though this would have been the perfect place to discuss that; for a book called Looker there is very little in the way of reflection on things like sexualisation which is a shame since hearing about beauty in the context of becoming a vampire would be as perfect as a supermodel who does not age.
I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed by Looker but that’s mainly because the concept that Ian and Mike have made for the comic is such a clever one that it deserved better. While I want to see what happens next in Kid Eternity i was also satisfied by it as a story, this time though I want the title to be picked up because i’m not, so that it can become the book that I know it can be. Though if it doesn’t then at the very least we’ll have gotten an enjoyable enough romp through the fashion trade and a few of the lives that it has taken; sometimes a good surface is enough.