"Gabriel Tempest: Broken Souls" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Big City Comics
Written by Jeffrey Kaufman
Illustrated by Gabriel Doria
Colored by James Brown
Gabriel Tempest had a great life. He was a hard-hitting criminal prosecutor who was on the rise in judicial system. Then he got turned into a vampire due to a vague prophecy that said he's some kind of chosen one amongst the bloodsucking community. Seven years later, he decides to finally do something as he's killing a criminal here or there to stay alive. That's when he gets an elemental power and becomes even stronger, albeit a lot more confusing.
On the surface, Gabriel Tempest has the makings of an interesting, multi-layered character. He's a vampire with a conscious, refusing to kill any more than he has to in order to survive. The fact that he waited seven years before rejoining society is a little strange and not explained at all. After an old friend and former colleague dies, he decides to show up at his old job and try to help out solving cases and hopefully finding more bad guys to eat. I don't know about you, but if I up and disappeared for seven years and then showed up one day, I would not be given my old desk back.
Artist Gabriel Doria's look for the character is rather basic. Most of the time, Tempest is making the same exact facial expression, like it's been copied and pasted into each scene. I understand that he's a vampire and not really alive, but he can move his face a bit. The vampire version of the character looks just like the effects from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the scrunched forehead, although with the addition of glowing, red eyes. It does the job, but doesn't look all that intimidating. The vampires mainly look mad all the time instead of menacing creatures of the night ready to rip your throat out.
The vampire lawyer angle is a nice one. It's sort of a darker version of Daredevil. Gabriel can track down the real criminals and serve them his own form of justice. He can even throw a case to get someone on the street and take them out. This is a very small part of his overall story which is disappointing, especially since a big chunk of time is spent setting him up in this job. In the scheme of things, it really doesn't matter at all to the story or his character. I guess one could argue that this is the human side of his arc, whereas the rest is the vampire side.
Speaking of that end, the aforementioned prophecy is mentioned in passing and not elaborated upon. It seems pretty important, especially since there's a hulking, ultra-strong vampire that has taken a special interest in Gabriel. This guy seems to arbitrarily take the title character under his wing to join his small club of super powered bloodsuckers.
I've said all this and haven't even gotten to the elemental powers. As you can tell, there's a lot going on in this book and most of it would make for a pretty decent story. The problem is that it's packing so much into a short space. If this was an ongoing series that had the time to explore each of these varied plot points, it would flow a lot better. Instead, you're bounced from one cool idea to another, but the creative team didn't flesh out each one enough to make it a worthwhile tale. Also, a werewolf shows up out of nowhere and then promptly leaves. Were they trying to fill a quota of supernatural creatures?