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The Daily Read: 1/08

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Last Blood has finally returned, gearing up with a second graphic novel after the first literally took a bite out of Top Webcomics. Unfortunately, the vamp/zom story is in a bit of a predicament. After building up so much hype and anticipation after a longer-than-expected hiatus, Last Blood needs one hell of an opening to put us back in the fold of the post-apocalyptic thriller. Unfortunately, LB chooses subtly over style.

In any other situation, Last Blood’s choice would be the right one but, unfortunately, the webcomic is starting to move into Lost territory - simply replace answers and smoke monsters with action and vampires. The beginning of the graphic novel should at least in some ways clue new readers into the recent story, just as it should also find its hook into current ones. But Last Blood’s current first page doesn’t do this, at least not effectively. We really don’t know what’s happening in the current page. It’s apparently a prologue, since one of the characters bit the big one in the last storyline, although knowing Last Blood, that’s one assumption which probably shouldn’t be made. Like the least of Last Blood, and by de facto,Lost, the current page is neither bland nor exciting – it’s just cryptic.

The impact therefore, or lack thereof, wouldn’t have been nearly as noticeable if Last Blood was firing on all cylinders, but the pace seems to be lagging. As I write this, the next page seems late, making the flaws of the first page more and more readily noticeable. Of course, Last Blood could, and hopefully will, update by the time this article even sees the light of day. But this doesn’t change the facts: whether a webcomic or a prime time TV show, the most important factor is keeping the plot moving – and this is why I usually like Last Blood a lot more than Lost.

The effect on Last Blood is immediate, as the former No. 1 plunges down to No. 7 on Top Webcomics while The Phoenix Requiem rises to its number three spot. Hopefully, Last Blood can rise to the occasion with more story and frequent updates, but the creators better hurry – it’s easier to go up than down on this list.

Shadowgirls is another webcomic that, while not as imperiled as Last Blood, is making some ballsy moves. Then again, I’d expect nothing less from these guys. Shadowgirls actually remains in hiatus for all intents and purposes save for a sneak peak voting incentive. However, the webcomic is far from bare, as David A. Rodriguez showcases a never-before-seen Starkweather prequel in the space typically held by the Shadowgirls.

I’m not sure what’s going on in this strip, but like all things in this space, it’s dark, disturbing, and for some reason intrinsically interesting. I think it’s the closeness of the subject material to Shadowgirls which is holding its position on Top Webcomics. Plus, the creators’ commentary at the bottom of the screen is interesting enough, especially in charting the history of the project.

Overall, Last Blood and Shadowgirls are both in transitional stages. One is falling and one is apparently holding steady, but both face a lot of challenges to bring horror topside on the list again.

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