22 August 2009

Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs #2

Spoilers Ahead

The second installation of Reign of Frogs starts off back in the comic shop in Santa Carla in 1990. The Frog brothers, jubilant after their success in ridding Washington DC of truly bloodsucking politicians, arrive home only to be greeted by the prone figures of their parents and a less-than-welcoming David. Yes, David--Kiefer's character in the movie. It turns out those antlers through his chest missed his heart and now he'd like a little payback (not just for the impalement but for the loss of his "family" too). He'd also like to know where Michael and Star are, and he's brought along several of his creepy vamp buddies to back him up. But just when things are looking bleak for the Frogs, cue the triumphant (and timely) arrival of Sam and Nanook.

Okay, so David's return is big. A little too big, maybe? It's not exactly unheard of to have vampires return from the dead (or only seeming dead). And I can buy that the antlers missed his heart. I can also see why someone would want to bring David back--he's a great character. The problem I have with this storyline is that the comic is a bridge to the next movie, and the movie might include David but it definitely does not include Kiefer. Not only is it annoying when different actors take on the same role (within a continuing storyline, that is--it's not the same when a series gets rebooted. The Tribe is supposed to be a continuation of The Lost Boys), but as I pointed out in my review of The Lost Boys, I can't see anyone but Kiefer Sutherland playing David.

But David coming back isn't the only major new development introduced in RoF #2. It turns out Sam and Michael's Grandpa is a vampire, and was all along. Yeah, I'm not sure about this one. In the movie he was most assuredly running around in the daylight. Even if he's only a half-vampire, where was the lethargy displayed by Michael, Star and Laddie? Where was Nanook's recognition of and animosity for the undead? Making him a vamp (or half-vamp) now seems to be stretching it more than a bit. And granted, rumour has it that Grandpa was originally supposed to be a vampire in The Lost Boys and that his character was changed at the last minute. But I think it's a little late to go back to a discarded concept. On top of which, taking everything that made the character who he was (the untouchable food in the fridge, the obsession with taxidermy, the general wackiness...) and making them mere side-effects of vampirism takes a great quirky character and makes him...kind of lame. I guess we'll see how it all plays out.

I'm also a little disappointed with the artwork in this issue. What was a bit of stylizing in issue #1 makes the characters suddenly unrecognizable in issue #2. I wouldn't have known Sam at all if his name hadn't been mentioned. David's scarier looking, but again--does he need to be? He also looks a lot older, which not only makes no sense in the context of vampires, but is pointless in a story about teenage vampires. At least the pacing and length are good, although the framing is pretty standard and not overly exciting; it's always nice to get a fully rounded comic and not something that feels like half an episode.

What saves the issue is the humour and the writing that is a perfect echo of the original movie. When you read the dialogue, you can forget all those nagging doubts about the story and artwork. You can just remember how awesome The Lost Boys really is. Here's hoping they find the plot again in the next two issues...

Text Bites

Kid: I'm sorry about your folks, man.
Edgar: Don't be. Turns out they were just sleeping after all. But a lot of good comics were lost in that fire. Like a full run of Watchmen in mint condition. That's the real tragedy.

Edgar (to Sam): But the fact remains...your gramps is a suck monkey. (Offers Sam a stake.) Kill your grandpa. You'll feel better.

Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs #1; art by Joel Gomez. Written by Hans Rodionoff. From DC Comics/WildStorm.

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