"Lorelei: Sects and the City" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by StarWarp Concepts
Written by Steven A. Roman
Illustrated by Eliseu Gouveia, Steve Geiger, and Neil Vokes
1989, 143 Pages
Graphic Novel published on June 27th, 2012
What's a busty succubus to do when the Cult of Nehalenna swoops into town looking to stir up trouble and summon for the old gods? The answer is to kick ass and look good doing it. That's what Lorelei (aka Lori) is set to do in her latest graphic novel, Sects and the City. When Lori stops what looks like a run-of-the-mill mugging, she ends up getting involved in much more as this cult is trying to steal the Grimoire of V'Laara'Sh, an ancient tome written in blood on pages of human skin. It just so happens that the guy Lori saved is the current owner of this book.
The plot of Sects and the City seems like a pretty simple one. The maguffin is the Grimoire and everyone wants it for different reasons. Professor Emil Agincourt is interested in it for its sheer rarity, while Miss Travers and the Cult of Nehalenna want it to bring forth the old gods and harness their power. Lorelei is in the middle of all this and despite being a succubus that's returned from hell, she only feeds on the souls of dirtbags, hence the mugging prevention that got her into this in the first place. She ends up siding with the professor by default, but she's still annoyed with him because he held on to the book to begin with. He knows what kind of horrible things it is capable of, so why not destroy it and be done with it?
What elevates this comic to another level is author Steven A. Roman's dialogue. It would have been very easy to fill this book with awful puns and lame jokes, but that's not the case here. The writing is smart and that comes out in the characters. Lorelei is not a dumb blonde. She's a redhead for one, and she's far from dumb. She's intelligent and she can take care of herself. Although she dresses like something out of a male fantasy, she's above being a toy. She can suck your soul right out of your body if you think otherwise.
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Sects and the City is presented in black and white. While I would love to see what this would look like with color, the artists made great use of shadow to make it look fantastic. The artwork is split up between three pencilers, with Steve Geiger and Neil Vokes handling the first couple chapters and Eliseu Gouveia picking things up for the bulk of the book. The three are clearly very talented, with clean pencils all around. The art was what I first noticed when I flipped through the comic. This could have been phoned in with some sketchy panels, but that's not the case. Gouveia especially has an elegant style that reminds me of old-school romance comics. Of course, he gets to draw monsters, zombies, and succubi, so that's definitely out of the ordinary for your average lovey-dovey book.
All three artists draw a great Lorelei. Yes, she's busty and she wears very revealing clothing, but she's not just cheesecake. You can tell by the way she's drawn that she's a strong woman. I'm not going to lie though, she's certainly nice to look at.
Sects and the City gives a nice introduction to Lorelei and her world. Her backstory is explained and it doesn't seem too much like exposition for the sake of filling in the audience. She's a succubus but she only feeds on evil doers so it's a nice spin on the creature. This could have easily devolved into something like tentacle porn, but Lorelei is classier than that. She wouldn't be caught dead in that trash.