"Gideon & Sebastian: Predators & Prey #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by PLB Comics
Written and Illustrated by Matthew Shockley, Josh Shockley, Nikkol Jelenic, Nathan Thomas Miller, Joe Bitches, and James Dufendach
2011, 26 Pages
Comic released in August 2011
It isn't often that I find myself in search for a buddy cop story staring a vampire and the Punisher, but that's what PLB Comics has delivered in Gideon & Sebastian: Predators & Prey. Gideon is a vampire hunter working for the Vatican in a never-ending search for the blood-suckers that killed his family. Sebastian is an upbeat vampire who's working for the church of his own accord as they suppress his thirst for blood with fake stuff. Hilarity ensues as the pair sticks bananas in tail pipes and argues about which one of them is too old for this shit. Just kidding. They kill things.
This first issue is actually a collection of several stories by a handful of writers and artists. Most of the creators write and draw their own parts in the comic. You end up with several stories for the price of a single book, albeit a black and white one.
First up is Himalaya, the first part of a larger story arc. Gideon and Sebastian find themselves in the snowy mountains in search of an informant. Unfortunately, this segment ends right when it starts to pick up. Matthew Shockley drew this story, but his art is very uneven. There are some panels, mostly ones that feature close-up shots of a face or hands, that look great. It's when he pulls back a little that things look very rigid, almost as if the characters don't know what to do with their arms. Shockley can clearly draw. It's just that that talent doesn't shine through consistently in Himalaya.
Following that cliffhanger comes Cassandra's Dream by Josh Shockley. No, it has nothing to do with the Woody Allen movie of the same name. It focuses on a woman, presumably named Cassandra, who wakes up after having a dream...get it? It's not clear what the connection is between her and our heroes. While I thought Shockley's art was alright, his art direction is great. The panel layout of the dream sequences helps cement the idea that this is not reality. Shockley also handled If You Want Blood, where Gideon and Sebastian recount a battle they had with a group of vampires.
Vegas Baby, Vegas presents the same plot as Himalaya, but it takes place in a hot nightclub in Nevada instead of the snow-covered mountains. Josh Shockley also wrote this one, but Nikkol Jelenic handled the pencils. Jelenic's art is a step up from the book, but it also looks like something that was transplanted from the 1990s. All the guys are big and muscular and the women have boobs bigger than their heads and pencil thin waists. As with Himalaya, this is the first part to a longer story and ends just when it starts getting interesting.
A Devil in the Cradle is my favorite story in this collection. Written and illustrated by Nathan Thomas Miller, it follows Gideon in a solo mission, training a new recruit from the Vatican. They target a vampire in the streets of a cold village in Austria and the battle begins. Unfortunately the story ends in a cliffhanger. While the story was pretty interesting, Miller's art sold it for me, especially his characters. His work is the kind of stuff you could easily see from any major publisher.
Last up is Skool Daze Bitches by Joe Bitches, Josh Shockley, and James Dufendach. It's a cartoonish one-pager where Gideon and Sebastian get stuck teaching Sunday school. Since both of them have questionable morals, despite working for the church, this of course ends with the kids learning about booze and women.
Gideon & Sebastian has a great premise and it is certainly fueled with a lot of passion by the creators, but the dialogue needs some work. These guys can barely get any actual vampire slaying done because they're too busy cursing or calling each other gay. It's very juvenile and reads like a child desperately trying to sound cool. The idea of a team working for the Vatican to hunt down the undead is a great one and I certainly hope that the folks at PLB Comics flesh out these characters a bit more.
You can purchase the first issue of Gideon & Sebastian: Predators & Prey at the PLB Comics store here.