Whoever said that dying by your lover’s hand, and then being resurrected by an ancient order of guardians to fight on for the fate of the entire world is meant to be serious has clearly not read Stjepan’s Sejic’s magnificent Death Vigil. Just two issues in, this series has been utterly awesome, in part because of Stjepan’s ever-awesome artwork, but also because how light-hearted the story itself is. It doesn’t take itself seriously, but it does recognize the importance of things. With Death Vigil, Stjepan has hit the sweet spot and to be honest, there are few comics out there right now that are better than this, very few.
Death Vigil #3 continues the tale of Clara as she adjusts to her new life with the Order of the Veil, with the Grim Reaper herself, Bernadette. The new issue is very much about Clara getting into the thick of things, doing what the Order is meant to do and her fellow protagonist Sam is just as awesome in this issue as he has been in the previous ones. And the same goes for Bernie as well, though she takes a backseat to Sam and Clara’s adventures. As I mentioned with the sweet spot, Stjepan’s script is compelling and fun and engaging once again, as is his artwork, which has never been better.
The new issue deals with something that came up in the previous one: Clara’s Veilripper has taken the form of a feathered quill and she has no idea how to make it work. For Sam, his Veilrippers are a pick and shovel and they have quite obvious uses, but for Clara, her Veilripper is a big mystery. That’s what Stjepan focuses on in this issue and it is a hell of a ride. We see Clara talk to the other members of the Vigil and even Bernie on how to get it to work. She experiments with it, but all to no avail. It isn’t until she and Sam are caught up in other necromantic event that she finally figures out the purpose of her Veilripper, and man, it is indeed something.
In the previous issues, Stjepan’s characterization of Sam and Clara and Bernie really stood out for me, and what I loved best, among all the other excellent things that he did. In this new issue, we see very little of Bernie unfortunately, and the pendulum swings towards Clara in that regard, but I loved it all the same. Clara’s newbie status is a surrogate for the reader’s own point of view into the Death Vigil and the role that Bernadette plays in safeguarding the world, something that the writer pulls off really well.
And truly, getting to see Clara interact with the other members of the Vigil, not to mention Sam waxing lyrical about Grace, their housekeeper and motherly figure, and even the two new characters to take to the stage, it is all a grand experience. Each character slots into the larger story neatly and without fuss. In only three issues we have a fully realized world with heroes and villains, with the stakes established as well, and all of that allows Stjepan to really get into what makes all of his characters tick.
Towards the end of the third issue, we also get to see the beginnings of the larger mystery and begin to get some idea of what the villains what, in a meta sort of way. Details will be along in the next few issues yeah, and I’m looking forward to them. For now, Stjepan teases and teases but it never comes across as excessive. Which is great.
Once again, Stjepan is the artist on this issue, handling all the art aspects and just as with the previous two issues, his art is astounding. His characters, even though the good guys share the similarities of blond hair and all, they stand out. They all have different body language, a different way of dressing and hair styles and everything. So much damn variety on each page. And that’s before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the artwork, such as with the monsters that the heroes fight against. That’s where Stjepan really excels.
Amazingly enough, this is another mind-blowing issue from Stjepan.