The newest series from motion comic publisher Narr8 is a chilling contemporary horror story that sees down on her luck doctor, Jane, given an unwelcome visit in the ER one night shift.
As we’ve seen previously in titles like Subject 9, Narr8’s slick mix of motion graphics and still images does a great job of merging the world of comics and animation to create something truly unique. Perhaps more so than any other digital publisher out there, Narr8 are pushing the boundaries between the two genres as characters animate across the scene, blur in and out of focus And smart uses of lighting effects guve the book a reslly slick and exciting feel.
Thanks to its ‘horrific’ nature, Prime Blood uses these with aplomb to help the big reveals become even more terrifying and the action even more dynamic. Horror is one of those genres where the motion book really flourishes (see also Tynion and Rock’s The Eighth Seal) as it allows for the same cheap scare tactics we have seen in a million horror movies, but that somehow seems to still work. In print, it is not always easy to go for the full scare, but with moving pages (with sound) it is much easier to go full on with the scares!
Prime Blood’s rotoscope style artwork gives it a dark, boarding feel reminiscent of Alex Maleev and The Scanner Darkly movie. The characters are solidly realised if a little on the one dimensional side, with Jane the Chicago doctor who is struggling to find love and pay bills being nothing new, and are charismatic male leads being nothing more than archetypes. As the story develops we soon discover we are in another story of a human caught between the world of vampires and werewolves, but with Twilight, Underworld, True Blood and more already filling our screens a story like this needs to be truly unique to stand alone.
Unfortunately Prime Blood doesn’t do much in this regards, offering little in terms of new elements to the mythos of either character’s genre or giving us dazzling insightful characters to latch on to. It’s dark, adult tone is further undermined by Narr8’s tendency to rely on pop up speech bubbles and a Comic Sans typeface for their lettering which leaves the final product feeling far from monstrous, all of which is a shame, because it looks good and has some solid action scenes, especially towards the end of this first instalment.