In "Kiss Me, Satan!" #1, Victor Gischler and Juan Ferreyra blend comedy, action, and mob drama together for their stunning new take on the fantasy genre. Caught between a vampire hit squad and a warring pack, werewolf Barnabus Black has one goal in mind despite the danger: earn back his lost soul. Gischler lays down an entertaining and solid story for this issue that is standard of most other introductory issues; ultimately, however, Ferreyra is the one who absolutely steals the show with his gorgeous, innovative artwork.
Gischler makes a good show of introducing the book's mythology in an easy, organic way that doesn't hold the reader's hand. Plot devices aren't spelled out; important information, like pieces of this universe's werewolf mythology and Barnabus' motivations, are implied through dialogue. In addition to improving the overall flow of the story, this method makes room for more plot development, something essential to any debut issue.
He also addresses scenes that look problematic at first glance: as soon as I could begin to question why vampires and werewolves required guns to fight each other, Gischler mentioned it on the very next page. Displaying a great amount of control, he leaves no loose threads, unless those loose threads serve to advance the plot. Gischler's writing is compact and effective without leaving the reader feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
Ferreyra may very well be this year's breakout artist if all of his work is as incredible as it is in this issue. His art leaps off the page for each captivating panel. With help from colorist Eduardo Ferreyra, Juan Ferreyra's work comes together like a cinematic oil painting by using focus and perspective to his great advantage. Each character gets a distinct design, providing a wide array of face shape, expression, posture, and diversity. The detail is intricate and involved, even for backdrops; story devices that could have otherwise been mundane, such as Verona's Eye of the Fates and the emphasis on the trinket Barnabus carries, burst with life and color. Most importantly, Ferreyra invents innovative new ways to incorporate sound effects in the scenery, adding subtlety to a trope that can be garish and overbearing if it's not handled properly. Although the comic can get a little graphic at times, his dynamic artwork is absolutely remarkable.
Of course, the issue does have a few drawbacks to consider. While almost every male character has a prominent place in the issue, all the women -- with the exception of Verona -- fade into the background, each of them lacking any individual personality. A few of them, like Cassian's wife, go nameless throughout the story. What's more, the younger women, like Verona's daughters, stand with twisted posture in just about every panel in order to emphasize their assets. Since this is only the first issue, there is plenty of time for this issue to be rectified, so hopefully they will have their personalities emerge as time goes on.
With a slick "Goodfellas" vibe and spectacular art, "Kiss Me, Satan!" #1 bursts with potential. Gischler turns in a good -- if standard -- performance for an introduction to his world, with Ferreyra's style taking the issue to an entirely different level. "Kiss Me, Satan!" should be on any fantasy lover's list; it will certainly be on mine.