This graphic novel tells a story only alluded to in the first book of the Anita Blake novel series. We know from Guilty Pleasures that Anita had a run-in with a vampire, leaving her with horrific scars that she usually keeps covered with long sleeves - as well as a cross-shaped scar on her arm that mirrors the one Jean-Claude bears on his chest.
A vampire is killing children, and the police have asked Anita to help track him down. Edward is also looking for the vampire - but for his own reasons, and he wants Anita to help him. Manny and Anita follow the trail of the killer to a house that appears to be empty of all but coffins, but a nasty little surprise awaits them.
I enjoyed reading this story - it filled out a small gap in the Anita Blake series, although there were no huge surprises or revelations. From the size of the hardbound book I was expecting something a bit longer, but the story ended about halfway through. It turns out the story was published in two comic-book-size volumes, which are collected here, and those make up just the first half of the book. The second half is a sort of fan guide to Anita's world, with illustrations of characters and descriptions about them and how they fit into the series. I suppose it would appeal to die-hard fans of the series - and I did enjoy looking at the illustrations - but personally I wasn't terribly interested in it. I feel I know enough from having read the series already. Luckily, I got my copy from my library or I might have been just a tad disappointed.
The illustrations are lush and detailed, and convey the dark horror from the novels very effectively. I am very much looking forward to the publication of the hardcover Guilty Pleasures, Volume 2, which is due to be released in August. A glance back into the past is fun, but I find it more interesting to move forward with the characters into the future.
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death by Laurell K. Hamilton, Jonathon Green and Wellington Alves (Marvel Publishing, 2008)
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