True Blood #1

This issue does a nice job of balancing introducing the world of "True Blood" even to those who haven't seen the show nor read the books, with getting the action in gear. Sure, there are a couple of characters who are not quickly identified and there are a couple of instances where the character is identified in the most heavy-handed manner possible, like when Sookie exclaims, "That's right, my boyfriend, Bill Compton, will be here any minute." A little too over-the-top, but nonetheless, there's no questioning Sookie's relationship with the Bill character who shows up on the next page.

The writing team also uses Sookie's exclamation to divulge that Sookie might have a bit of an accent, while also playing some humor into a story laden with f-bombs, vampires, and innuendo.

The art for this story is strongly influenced by the actors on the show, but not to the point where the art is hamstrung for sake of likeness. Incredibly, Messina maintains likenesses throughout this issue, with Sookie bearing at least a passing resemblance to Anna Paquin more often than not.

The villain of this issue -- Imp Shaloop, or "Ted," as he prefers -- plays up the scene quite a bit too, helping to guide us through the cast as they appear. Of course once the cast has assembled then the villain plays his hand, which, naturally, leads to a bit of a cliffhanger. That works for comics and television episodes equally.

Taken on its own merits, this comic is a tidy offering -- with a dozen or more variant covers available -- that serves as a nice, overplayed introduction. I applaud the effort used to avoid simply making this issue an introduction to the characters, and feel that the decision to get things hopping really helped this story along. It also helped gloss over the hokey introductions that the handful of writers deemed necessary to use.

I'm not certain of the pattern HBO series follow with regards to their seasons, but if this is the downtime between seasons of "True Blood," fans of the show would certainly find reason to at least give this issue a look. Those unfamiliar with the show, but keen to supernatural tinged tales, might want to give this a go. It's not for everyone, to be certain, but that's the case with most comics nowadays. I enjoyed this peek into the world of Sookie Stackhouse's, but this didn't compel me to check out the HBO series. I'd be fine with just reading these adventures.

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