El Santo vs. The Vampire Women: Danielle Dark

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Danielle Dark, a webcomic by Jay Bradley, starts with our title character leaving the romantic, scenic, and culturally inventive city of San Francisco for a city that’s pretty much the polar opposite: Indianapolis. And with how well the Colts are doing, who can blame her? And, uh … there’s the Indy 500? (Holy crap, I just realized a racecar driving vampire on the Indy circuit would be a great idea for a webcomic!)

Danielle must move because if she stays in one place too long, someone might notice that she doesn’t age and you can only use the “plastic surgery” excuse so many times (though I’d think that would apply more to SoCal than the Bay Area). And with the emergence of Web 2.0, she has to be more vigilant about secrecy than ever.

Danielle however is taking a risk going to Indianapolis because she’s been there before. There’s a chance she might run into someone who recognizes her. But the city also has old friends. She runs into an couple of long-lived witch acquaintances at a Warlock’s Coffee (snarf snarf), where carrying a punch card means you are one of the damned. These witches practice White Magic, which makes them the Jedis of the haunted community. There’s Berniece, who is 470 years old and Talia, who’s 650 years old, takes Danielle in, and wears unholy gobs of Tammy Faye Baker clown make-up.

While not as old — compared to her friends, Danielle is young at 150 years — Indianapolis’ ties are strengthened by powerful memories. Once upon a time, she grew up tall and she grew up right as an Indiana girl on an Indiana night. This was the city where she was first turned into a vampire. This was the city where her husband was murdered.

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Danielle discovers that she’s having an increasingly hard time controlling her rage. Hey, we’ve all been there, honey. (Also, we find out that her married surname is “Dark.” A very convenient coincidence for a lady who would end up becoming a vampire.) Anyway, while visiting her husbands resting place, a bunch of doodlums nearby take to desecrating the graves for fun. Enraged, Danielle goes to town on the punks and, desiring nourishment, sinks her fangs into their necks. Don’t worry, though: her bites aren’t fatal. Rather, they induce a temporary hypnosis and a memory wipe of the incident. Think of it as the equivalent of getting really, really drunk.

It soon becomes apparent that Danielle attracts trouble. While staying at Talia’s house, she becomes targeted for a botched burglary. Danielle though is not the sort of woman who lets people walk all over her. The swiftness and severity of Danielle’s subsequent vampire-fu — which claims the life of one demon and scares the daylights out of the surviving human — leaves her friends a little concerned. Danielle’s rage is getting out of control, thieves are after her giant letter opener, and, worst of all, everyone’s stuck in Indianapolis. The girls hit upon a solution to all their problems: road trip to Jacksonville!

he prospect of a Jacksonville vacation gives the girls a good excuse to break out the bikinis. Seeing what Talia calls “bikini spiders” (brrrr), Talia insists that Danielle get a bikini wax. Danielle hasn’t had a bikini wax in her 150 years as a vampire, so … Oh my God. The mental imagery. Uughhhh. UGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

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But they’re not going to Jacksonville simply for surf and sun. They’re here to see Angela, a witch who might have the answers to Danielle’s problems. Angela is initially frosty toward our heroine (possibly fueled by the intense AFC South Colts-Jaguars rivalry). However, she softens her demeanor when a pot of flowers decide that Danielle is not evil. Incidentally, I imagine a demonic rage that burns unabated within my own soul, because I have the opposite effect on house plants. Confident that her flowers are a good judge of character, Angela takes Danielle to the Vampire Bible and reveals the answers to everything.

It turns out that Danielle is … wait for it … the Thirteenth Vampire! Dun dun DUN! It’s certainly a change from being the First Vampire, which apparently every other vampire is. And that giant letter opener/knife/dagger that everyone wants to steal? It contains the power and hatred from the previous 12 owners.

The knife’s history begins with the first caveman vampire. (Heh! Caveman vampires.) When he was murdered, the evil power transferred through the knife and to his assailant. The process went on and on and on until, 150 years ago, Danielle Dark used the knife to stab the 12th vampire as vengeance for the murder of her husband. This makes her the 13th owner, and the status imbues all the power and glory that being the Thirteenth Person With The Knife entails. However, possessing the knife is subject to conditions that depend on the heart of the wielder. If the thirteenth vampire is evil, the final owner would turn into a soldier bred in the service of the dark one! However, if the person wielding the knife is a good person, he or she would instead bring balance to the force. Or something.

In the following pages, Danielle stops another home invasion with stone cold efficiency, stops by the beach to watch the hot guys walk by, and gets into another epic brawl after her gal pal Talia gets kidnapped by demons. During the battle, she meets another acquaintance to tells her that the thieves, who are demons in human guise, were originally tasked to bring the knife to Lucifer. He, in turn, wants to use the knife because it can release him from Hell, after which he can bring about the end of the Earth! How something used to stab a total of 12 vampires translates into The One Ring, I have no idea.

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Danielle is understandably confused over what the knife really represents. Fortunately, Detective Exposition (a.k.a. Michael, the demon detective) shows up to straighten out everything. Somewhere along the chain of vampire-on-vampire stabbings, an Eastern vampire wizard got a hold of it. In a failed attempt at self-preservation, the mystic got it into his head that he should add a few more spells to the knife to subject it to an additional set of rules and conditions. Who convinced him to mess around with the knife? It turns out to be none other than Detective Exposition himself, who turns out to be a time traveling demon with such a huge chip on his shoulder that he made sure that his jackass boss, Lucifer, could never, ever use the knife. Convenient! And a tad Messianic.

In the end, it turns out everyone was wasting their time. The knife is useless for demons other than Lucifer, thus any attempt at stealing the knife for their own purposes was pointless and doomed to failure. Even Lucifer (who is played here by Lost‘s smoke monster) is unable to use the knife unless Danielle willingly hands it over. To make matters worse, every demon (not just Michael) hates Lucifer. They take every chance to screw over their boss (who can’t affect anything in the physical world), so relying on their services will produce zero results. Finally, it turns out that there’s no power in the knife anymore anyway. Thus, even if Danielle had willingly forked it over, nothing would have happened.

That’s multiple levels of failure No wonder nobody ever listens to him;
the Prince of Darkness is the lamest villain since Paste Pot Pete.

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Anyway, with the end of the world narrowly averted by the potent combination of both the uncrushable power of love and legal mumbo-jumbo, Danielle Dark is free to pursue her own destiny. This leads to, you guessed it, an office romance. With vampires.

Danielle meets cute with a nice fellow at a Halloween party, sucks his blood, but then some muggers attack and the guy takes the bullet and OMG he did not need to do that because, hello, she’s already undead! Anyway, Danielle takes a job at a tech firm, and it turns out the guy (whose name is Evan) is like working there too! And he’s like really nice and he promises he’ll keep her secret safe and they’re like totes in love and Danielle knows it’s real because he wasn’t staring at her boobs and stuff.

Notable contributions to the vampire woman genre:

To heighten intimidation, vampire women can grow up to 5 inches additional to their base height. Also, to heighten seduction, boobs also increase in size. So you see, vampire sexiness can be explained through evolution!

Memorable Quotes:

Michael, closing a plot hole that I didn’t even know was open: “Have you ever wondered why everyone refers to that as a knife? Sung reforged the blade into a dagger.”

Oh. NOW it all makes sense!

Important life lessons:

Remember, only rednecks desecrate graves.

If you’re going get vengeance on someone who murdered a loved one, do so out of love. The rewards will be great, especially if you kill him with a knife/dagger that was originally cursed to absorb hate but was reverse cursed to absorb love.

Also, on a more personal level, I listened to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Nosferatu” while reading Danielle Dark. It turned out to be ideal music to accompany a comic about vampire women. “Witch Doctor” by Sha Na Na, which followed on my iTunes playlist, not so much.

El Santo’s predictions for where this story will go in the span of a year:

Well, it looks like the story is on a new arc dealing with a murder mystery in England. This usually means that Dracula is involved somehow, so there you go. Get ready for Danielle Dark vs. Dracula.

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on October 22, 2009, in action webcomic, adventure webcomic, dramatic webcomic, El Santo vs the Vampire Women, gothic, horror webcomic, mystery webcomic, romance webcomic, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Hurm. This one seems to have promise (though my judgment may be hampered from learning about Blood Bound), especially considering you seem to have a lot less disdain about this, and if the art style improves, it could really go places. I may have to check this out for myself; something I had already done with Eerie Cuties before you faced it, and something I wouldn’t really give to the three after it. And you already know about my feelings toward Blood Bound after seeing the snippets and overview. Granted, the author (from his comments/replies) seems like a nice enough guy, and I don’t have anything against him personally, but I still think his comic is inaccessibly vile and heartless.

    Speaking of which, I hope I didn’t irritate you too much with my tl;dr comment on that review. I noticed you didn’t really respond to it, and while I assume it’s because you’re busy (or it didn’t leave that much of an impression on you, which I could understand), I’ll go ahead and offer my apologies in the off-chance that you were less than pleased by it.

    • Sorry I haven’t responded to that yet! Yes, I have been pretty busy in RL (and also feeling a little sick — flu season and all), so I’ve been pretty selective with my answers over the past few days. I’ve only been tossing off short comments here and there. Apologies for not replying to your comment sooner. I also wanted to let Anubis Darque get his own replies in as a courtesy to the creator. I figure he should be given a chance to express his own side of the story. I’ll reply when I get the chance.

      Now, as for Danielle Dark, I have to say that it’s probably my favorite vampire comic I’ve read so far. I like the simplicity of the art, and I like the layout of the action sequences. My biggest complaint is that the wrap-up of “The Knife” arc felt very deux ex machina.

      EDIT: (Originally the first word in this post was incorrectly written as “so.” Whoops! I meant to write “Sorry.” Apologies if it came off bad! Also, I do fully intend to respond to your post. Between you and me and everyone else reading this post, my typing skills have been suffering lately, which I blame to an unhealthy combination of everyday stress and a stuffy nose that makes it tough to concentrate. Anyway, I think you brought up a lot of good points. I need some time to arrange my thoughts into a proper response.)

  2. I found your overview immensely entertaining and very much on target. I consider Danielle Dark a work in progress in every sense of the word. The most difficult task is writing a story that makes some sort of sense, and I admit I have a lot to learn in that area.

    Drawing the comic is also a learning process. I wanted, from the very start, to do something that wasn’t manga. Nothing against that style, it is just that there are so many comics out there already doing that, and doing it very well.

    As for the future of Danielle Dark, I assure you, Dracula will be nowhere in sight.

    Thanks again for the overview. Now that I know about this site, I am bookmarking it. I hope to learn a lot from your reviews and the comments you receive.

    • Hey, no problem!

      Like I said in another comment, Danielle Dark was my favorite of the vampire comics I reviewed recently. I was never bored while reading it. And Danielle is unique: most comics with female vampires have them in their teenage or college years. Danielle seems more mature and world-weary… which makes sense since she’s 150 years old. She is quite an interesting character.

  3. I love Danielle Dark myself, it is one of my favorite comics that I do read and hes an excellent artist (he in fact did the first fan art for Blood Bound! and jinni looks so cool in his style!

  4. That looks like the most ridiculous masturbatory pap.

    And hey, why’d you spend so long on plot summary and so little on actual commentary? Dangit El Santo

  5. I just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog a lot and thanks to you I follow now more webcomics

  6. Holy shit! It embedded the link!

  7. Howdy! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My site looks weird when browsing from my
    apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might
    be able to correct this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share.

    With thanks!

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