In Review: Chastity #1

A solid start for new readers and long time fans.

The covers: There’s a huge twenty-three covers to collect if you’re a fan of Chastity or Chaos Entertainment. The A cover by Clayton Crain has the title character holding a crossbow high in her right hand as she pulls a sword out of the chest of a  gigantic horned demon she’s just killed with her left. Moonlight is streaking through the cloud covered sky in spears cast about the hero. Gritty cover that shows how tough she is. I like it! The reader is looking down at Chastity on the B by Nick Bradshaw. The hero smiles at the reader as she stands over her latest supernatural kill — a werewolf. Rain is falling in this setting. The details in this are really cool and the colors are strong, with Chastity getting the focus due to her bright shades. Jay Anacleto with colors by Rain Beredo are on the C cover and this is a WOW! frontpiece. A bust shot of Chastity is in the center with her leaning forward into the left with her crossbow held centered on the right. Below her is a skull that’s broken its top and an orange mist seeps out of it to create a hellish creature at the top with massive fangs, one yellow eye, and several screaming heads around it. Splatters of blood are at the bottom. Anacleto and Beredo do not disappoint! Catherine Nodet has created the D cover. This has the hero in a back alley at night. She’s standing tall and is about to lick the blood off her sword’s tip. Hey, she is a vampire, so what did you expect? The angle is titled slightly to make this illustration a little more jarring. There are some orange sparks flying in the right foreground from an unseen fire. Very nice. The E cover is by David Nakayama and it is nothing short of brilliant. Chastity gives a slight smile with closed eyes as she walks forward and pulls her sword from her back. She looks amazing and the coloring is sensational, composed of white splotches and streaks on a crimson background. You can’t go wrong with a cover by Nakayama. The 10 Copy Incentive “Carve” cover by J. Scott Campbell has three other Chaos Comics characters in addition to Chastity. Going clockwise from the right there are Chastity, Evil Ernie, a woman I cannot identify, and Purgatori. Only Chastity is in color with the rest of the image black on a white background. A neat way to put the focus on the lead, but I’d rather see her than the other three. The 20 Copy Incentive B&W cover is by Bradshaw and is the same as the B cover, but has no colors. Nice, but I like it better colored. The 30 Copy “Hellfire” Incentive cover by Crain is the same as the A cover but colored in intense oranges and yellows, giving it a hellish hue. Not bad. The 40 Copy Incentive B&W cover by Nakayama is something I’ve not seen before; this artist’s work in black and white. Interesting, and still neat, but I like it more with the colors. Next is the 50 Copy Incentive B&W cover by Campbell, which has the same art as the previous Campbell cover, except now Chastity is in black and white. Meh. The Atlas Signature Edition is signed by Leah Williams and features the art by Nodet, which was the D cover. The Atlas logo is at the top and a white line is at the bottom for Williams to sign. This is a good way to clearly see a signer’s signature. Plus, this is a really cool cover. The Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Anacleto and Beredo is the same as the C, but without any text. I like this better than the C. Bradshaw gets the same treatment on his Limited Edition “Virgin” cover. This too looks good. There’s also a Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Crain and a Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Nodet. Both look good. The next original cover can be found on the Sad Lemon Exclusive cover by Kunkka. This has Chastity holding a large crossbow over her right shoulder as she shows the severed head of a demon to the reader with her left. She looks incredible and the background is a fire covered locale. Excellent frontpiece! Sabine Rich is the artist of the first Unknown Comics Exclusive. Chastity is sitting atop some large hairy creature she’s felled with several arrows and her sword, which she holds in her left hand point down into the monster. Flames are before her and their embers fly up from the bottom. Behind her are the broken remains of a building which resemble a cross. I always try to pick up a cover by Rich if I see one and this would be no exception. The second Unknown Comics Exclusive cover is by Alan Quah and it has Chastity resembling Red Sonja. The lead sits atop a dragon she’s killed. The creature’s mouth is open and its wings practically reach the tops of the left and right sides of the image. Chastity can be clearly seen holding a bloody sword, point down, on the beast’s shoulders. I like it. She looks strong on this. The Comic Kingdom of Canada Exclusive cover by Tyler Kirkham has the title character from the waist up with a sword held over her right shoulder. She has her right hand at her waist. A monster’s hand emerges from the bottom left in its death throes, but judging by her demeanor Chastity could care less. This looks great! The KRS Comics Exclusive cover by Natali Sanders has a very realistic painting of Chastity shown from the knees up holding her crossbow low. Her outfit is a little less than it normally is. Her brown hair is up, though several strands fall on either side of her head. The background is an unidentifiable blob of gray that has blood coming out of the bottom and bats emerging from the top. She looks gorgeous. I’ve never seen an Issue #2 Sneak Peek cover on a number one book, but this one by Anacleto is awesome. This is a close-up of Chasity holding her sword forward, dividing the image in half. She looks intensely at the reader as clawed fury hands reach in on either side of her. This is a fantastic cover! The FOC Incentive Partially Tinted Carve “Virgin” cover by Campbell is the same as his previous covers, though now there’s no text and the other three characters are in red. The FOC Incentive Tinted Carve cover by Campbell has all four characters in red. Meh. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A+, D A, E A+, 10 Copy Incentive B, 20 Copy Incentive B, 30 Copy Incentive A-, 40 Copy Incentive B+, 50 Copy Incentive C-, Atlas Signature Edition A, Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Anacleto A+, Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Bradshaw A, Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Crain A-, Limited Edition “Virgin” cover by Nodet A, Sad Lemon Exclusive A+, Unknown Comics Exclusive Rich A, Unknown Comics Exclusive Quah B, Comic Kingdom of Canada Exclusive A+, KRS Comics Exclusive A-, Issue #2 Sneak Peek A+, FOC Incentive Partially Tinted Carve “Virgin” cover C+, and FOC Incentive Tinted cover C

The story: On a subway three men in suits are racing through the cars being pursued by Chastity. Thinking they’ve lost the woman, one says, “The train has to stop soon, right?” That’s when Chastity appears behind them. “This is the express line. It’s not stopping ’til Brooklyn.” The men turn around and their eyes have gone black with red pupils and they open their mouths to reveal fangs. They’re vampires. As Chastity takes each one out she narrates for the reader how she’s able to fight them: she’s half-vampire and half-human. What she does with their bodies on Page 5 is funny, yet highly efficient. Once off the train she makes her way to her chained up bicycle and gets on. She’s trying to get to a job interview; it’s for a burlesque show and she needs the money. After a dramatic ride to the job, she encounters some major attitude from the secretary. The title character’s response on Page 10 is perfection. Writer Leah Williams spends the rest of the issue with Chastity in the waiting room with five other women. She talks to a few of the women until she realizes something is wrong. I like how this was a simple threat that become much more dangerous as the effects of it hit the other characters. The way the women were set up is revealed on 15 and it’s incredibly devious. I loved Chastity’s response at the bottom of 18 to the antagonists and what she says in the second panel on 19. Her dialogue on 20 is awesome. This is the moment when readers will realize a line has been crossed and a promise will eventually be delivered. I enjoyed how smoothly this tale was told, how the character’s background and abilities were shown, and the premise of where this is going. I’m in for the full ride, Ms. Williams! Overall grade: A

The art: I admit to picking this book up because it was illustrated by Daniel Maine. I’ve seen his work in other books and I wanted to see what he would do with Chastity. The first two panels of the issue throw the reader right into the action by focusing on the characters’ legs as they speed through the subway cars. It’s only in the third panel are all four characters shown with their distance between each each established. The first clear image of Chastity’s is at the bottom of Page 2 and it’s a hero’s entrance into the story, which perfectly compliments her dialogue. The vampires’ reveal at the top of 3 is good and I love the bloodsucker on the right that opens his mouth. The action that follows is good and easy to follow. Considering the tight quarters, Maine does a good job in showing who does what and where. I like the spinning kick that starts things off on 3. The second panel on 4 is really good. The final panel on 5 continues to make me smile every time I see it, even now as I’m writing this review. Her ride to work is a little difficult to gage because it’s done with a lot of speed lines, especially at the bottom of 7, however things greatly improve on the next page with the last panel on 7 making me smile for the state an object is left in. The character that Chastity speaks with on 8 is wonderfully disgusted by what stands before her; the cigarette is a great touch. Chastity’s reaction on 10 is outstanding. I really like the final panel on the page which looks down into the room and establishes where everyone is. This will be key to what happens. Maine moves the point of view around well, keeping this visually interesting and making each character unique so as not to be confused with another. I love the third panel on 12 — just cool! The visual clues in the remaining panels on this page are great tip offs to what’s soon to be discovered. The violent action that ends 14 and begins 15 works well. The last four panels on 17 show how determined the title character is to go down fighting. The look of the antagonists was surprising and I’m looking forward to seeing what else they’ll do. Maine’s art tells the story well and creates enjoyable reactions and emotions in the characters. The exterior scenes in the city weren’t as strong as the opening and closing, but I do want to see what else Maine will create. Overall grade: B

The colors: Bryan Valenza is the book’s colorist and does a solid job in creating reality. The opening page’s colors instantly are recognizable as that of a subway. Chastity stands out in every panel she’s in for her shock of red hair and the amount of skin her clothes reveal. The vampires’ eyes at the top of 3 are excellent — I love when eye colors show a change in a character and these are great. Chastity’s narration is in bright red boxes, making it stand apart from anything else in the panel. When action gets intense the backgrounds go orange, increasing the pain and power in the panels. There are several sounds in the book and each gets a color that propels it off the page. I love the bland coloring of the waiting room which absolutely suits the location. The blues on 14 and 15 draw attention to a plot important object. The yells on 16 stand out for being in a color other than black, making them sound especially strong. The coloring in the third panel on the last page adds a lot of depth to the character. Overall grade: A

The letters: Yells, dialogue, narration, sounds, transmissions, signage, and the tease for next issue are crafted by Carlos M. Mangual. I really like when yells and screams are in different fonts and Mangual does that in this book. The size allows me to recognize the volume of each outburst and the design of the scream also tells me how intensely to interpret each. The dialogue is differed from the narration with the latter being in italics. This is the sign of a professional letterer and I tip my hat to Mangual for doing so. The sounds on this book are excellent with several occurring throughout. There’s a great collection of them on the right on Page 3. I like that the broadcast on the subway is done in italics which gives the transmission a mechanical tone. There are several signs and posters throughout the book which are very easy to read. The three word tease for next issue is in tall bold capital letters to leave the reader with tension from the final actions. Mangual has done a great job on this book. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This is a great introduction to this character for new readers and an excellent way to reacquaint her fans with what she’s capable of. Chastity Jack has got some great lines, an awesome personality, and she doesn’t like being played a fool. The visuals show off her abilities and gives her and the other characters some great reactions. I enjoyed this enough to want to continue picking up. I have no idea where this will go and that’s what makes this entertaining. Overall grade: A-

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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