01 October 2009

Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs #4

Spoilers Ahead

After the last two issues of Reign of Frogs, particularly the deeply uninspired third issue (read my review), I wasn't holding out much hope for #4. Once again my cynicism pays off.

With Alan Frog having been bitten, it's even more critical for the Frogs and Sam to find and kill the Widow Johnson (aka the Black Widow of Santa Carla) in order to release all the half-vampires (including Michael and Sam's grandpa). What seems like a cake walk, however, becomes slightly more complicated when it turns out the Widow's "throne room" is guarded by a behemoth of a vamp (you know he's tough because he's got nipple rings). Grandpa is soon dispatched by scythe (a moment of mourning, please, for one of my favourite characters from the movie), leaving the boys to fend for themselves. Actually, it mostly seems to be Edgar fending for all of them (no doubt in anticipation of his promotion to Big Hero in The Tribe). He fights the behemoth with what looks like a Samurai sword, a nifty stake-spewing machine gun, and his own sheer awesomeness. In the fracas Alan disappears and Sam is apparently having a breakdown.

Back to 2007 and we find out that was the last time Edgar saw Alan. He continues to refuse to train the still-nameless kid as a hunter, and tells him to forget everything he's heard. Conveniently a vampire interrupts, attacking Edgar and demanding to know (on David's behalf) where Michael and Star are. Edgar, about to become a snack, has his neck saved by the kid. After admitting most of his story to the kid was "embellished," he "finally" offers to train the kid as a hunter. Who could have seen it coming?

Another flashback, this time to Santa Carla in 1987 and the beach party that David and the gang attacked in The Lost Boys. What we didn't get to see in the movie is that one of the victims survived and is turned. Crawling into the ocean, he attracts and then feeds on sharks--points for creativity here. Afterwards, since his friends are all dead, he decides to make a new family, the way his "half-brother" David did; a new family like a pack of wolves. Like a tribe. And now we're ready for the next movie.

Okay, I didn't hate this one quite as much as #3. Maybe that's just because my expectations were so low. But the flashback to Santa Carla wasn't half bad, not only because it was basically a cut scene from The Lost Boys, but I really liked the artwork, particularly the colouring--all shades of grey and black with just the right amount of red. The pacing was good, not rushing when it could easily have done so. The writing was only so-so, not least because it was too obviously a set up for The Tribe. There's a fine line between foreshadowing and TME (too much exposition).

As for the rest of the issue, the first part was okay, mostly thanks to Edgar's fight with the behemoth (I'd really like to know what kind of vampire that's supposed to be. All the other ones in the Lost Boys universe look more-or-less human). The middle part, with grown-up Edgar and the kid, is just bad. Predictable and anti-climactic, it displays the pacing, creativity, and tension you would find in a cheesy sitcom (minus the humour). It also suffers from overload of obvious. At least the vampire is cute.

So was Reign of Frogs worth reading? Meh. It's good to know all the back story (middle story?) for The Tribe, but I have the feeling it'll all be explained (and over-explained) again anyway. If you're a huge fan of The Lost Boys, it might be worth it for the extra moments with the characters, as well as getting the complete story (if you're into that sort of thing). But if you're just a fan of the genre in general, you can probably safely give RoF a miss.

Text Bites

Edgar Frog: Sayonara, suckmeister!

Kid: I could help you. We could go find this Black Widow together and kill her.
Edgar Frog: It's too late for that. Alan's already turned. He's lost. Lost in the shadows.

Beach vamp: I can start building a new family. A pack...like wolves. A tribe.

Lost Boys Reign of Frogs #4; art by Joel Gomez. Written by Hans Rodionoff. From DC Comics/WildStorm.

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