The cover is what drew me to this series. When I saw that eerie burned figure haunting the page, my curiosity was piqued. Not knowing anything about the series, I quickly read issue #1.
Let me start with the main story. I can see that Vega despite her tough exterior is a caring person. Vega survived being an ex-cop in prison — no easy feat — and is now kicking ass several times daily at the Burning Desire dance club. Vega grumbles about having to watch Annabelle, yet she is quick to appease the young girl with oranges and ends up taking a real shine to the kid. Whether it’s for Annabelle’s sake or because she just inherently wants to help, Vega takes on the task of helping Annabelle’s mother Nancy (Nance) get clean. There is a terrific sequence that displays Vega’s physical fight and the mental fight (although sometimes physical due to withdrawal symptoms) that Nancy is going through trying to kick heroine.
Vega’s story thus far is fairly simple: we are following Vega’s struggle to reenter society after prison. Shackled — literally, with an ankle bracelet — Vega’s life is her apartment and the club. Then there are these nods to a Christine vibe with the car — Frank’s ride. The door opens, leaving the car in plain view while Vega is on the phone. The curtains blow apart above the AC unit and we see the black Camaro as if waiting to be driven. Then once again when Sid comes pounding on Vega’s door, the curtains are parted and there is the car as if it were a harbinger of bad news.
By the end of issue #2, we are left with a mystery to solve and Vega cannot help but dust off her detective skills. This issue felt like a crime drama with a cliffhanger ending. Vega is likeable despite her penchant for violence, but the story is almost too simple up to this point. I hope that we will see a bit more action in the next issue.
The art throughout is uncomplicated and clean, although I did feel a couple of times that Vega’s face lacked continuity — her features were lost a few times when trying to emote. Can we talk about that cover a bit more? Chis Brunner does a magnificent job of conjuring heat and fire with the deep red and maroon tones. You want to wince looking at the scarred flesh of the woman stripped of her skin and hair; a stark contrast to the young woman dolled up in the flowing lavender gown with moonlit skin. The dark horizontal line the landscape creates severs the burned woman at the neck. Slick.
Now let’s dive into Ash. Ash just wants to go the prom to dance and laugh with her friends. With help from younger sister Babs, she’s getting ready for her night. Uh oh, creepy alert — Mom is in the compact mirror haunting the doorway.
So what is it with mothers and the prom? The prom seems to be the catalyst for many an unstable mom to totally lose it. (This is a slight nod to Carrie, but Ash doesn’t set the fire.) Mom is made extra creepy by only showing the bottom half of her face or her profile.
The art is phenomenal. The taut lines in Ash’s neck beautifully displays her stress over leaving Babs at home with mom. All of the scenes at the house are displayed in a sickly green tone, which pumps up the caustic feeling of their home life while the outside world is pastel and cheery. My favorite frame is of Ash craning her neck, making her way through the smoke fearful of what she might find.
Did I like it? I would jump in The Ride and take it for a spin.