By Patrick Wolf
Curse of the Vessel is a solid paranormal thriller that offers an interesting premise coupled with a set of exciting revenge stories. While the series suffers from some recycled plotlines and absent characterization, it’s still entertaining enough to warrant a read So, if you’re looking for a gritty noir blended with some cool spirit-revenge, look no further: Curse of the Vessel was made for you.
After a botched shakedown of a magic storeowner, a two-bit gangster wakes up in a motel room with an inexplicable symbol burnt onto his chest. To make matters worse, before he can figure out what’s going on, a spirit uses the symbol to enter his body. Now, whether he likes it or not, the gangster’s body has become a ‘vessel’ for countless disgruntled spirits to use as a means to their ends—and their ends usually come with a side of vengeance.
As mentioned earlier, Curse of the Vessel is a solid story. From a technical standpoint, the narrative’s entertaining and the drawings are flawless. Michael Leal is an excellent writer, and his art team (Mike Wilson, Michael McElveen, and Michelle Leal) makes a great trio. Overall, I found the first two issues very enjoyable and couldn’t find much wrong with them.
That said, I do have some misgivings. To begin with, the story’s cyclical plot structure gets old fast. While only two issues have been printed, I can already see a pattern in how each narrative is going to play out: (a) A spirit takes over Vinny’s body; (b) the spirit uses it to get revenge; (c) the spirit can finally rest. Now, while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this structure, I still prefer a series that stretches-out its plot throughout several issues. This gives a sense of grandness, continuity, and surprise that isn’t present in a comic series with a recycled plot.
Another problem I have with Curse of the Vessel is its lack of characterization. Technically, Vinny is the hero of the story, yet we know so little about him. What motivates him? What are his interests? What’s his last name? The problem is since ghosts take over his body every issue, we only get a few glimpses of the real Vinny. We learn a lot about the ghosts, but since they also leave at the end of each arc we never really get to bond with them either. If the creators really want us to fall in love with this series, we need to fall in love with the characters. And for that to happen not only do we need the characters to stick around, but also we need to see them in action.
Overall, Curse of the Vessel is a fun read with some pretty cool stories. Unfortunately, in spite of its technical prowess, the story’s circular plotlines and lack of characterization makes it more ordinary than extraordinary. I may be wrong on this point since we are only two issues in, but until I see the next instalment, I can’t praise it more than any other decent read.
Curse of the Vessel # 1 & 2
Writer: Michael Leal
Artist: Mike Wilson
Colorist: Michael McElveen
Letterer: Michelle Renee Leal
Publisher: Danger Entertainment