(WHEATLEY, MARK & HEMPEL, MARC)
ABSTRACT ? WHEATLEY, MARK & HEMPEL, MARC ? BREATHTAKER (1994) Vertigo/DC Comics. Graphic novel about a Succubus who inevitably kills anyone and anything that she loves. It?s a beautifully dark and highly erotic satire, with a clever introduction by Neil Gaiman. Chase Arrow is someone who all men and women and animals will fall in love with. In doing so, they find that they lose their looks, they age prematurely, and they die. Chase doesn?t want to kill anyone. She wanders through the book with a naïve charm and a desire to have a sustainable relationship that is rendered impossible. The story would be dark and despairing if not for the inclusion of the most egotistical and ultimately doomed superhero in the history of comics. The Man, (as he is called) is a Superman like hero of near unlimited god-like power. He seems to have no weaknesses. He is also vain and pompous and very proud of his own macho nature and his libido. When Chase is discovered to be at large, he naturally sets himself to the task of capturing and satisfying her. Their relationship gradually melts his confidence, as his hair and teeth fallout, bathe remains convinced that he can satisfy her and ultimately win the day to the end. Here, the superman figure is reduced to how others se him at heart. The Clark Kent persona, of weak, mortal and fragile is forced through. The book therefore makes a startling revelation about what underlies the hero; the total impotency of the man who dreams of being the supreme athlete, lover, Man. Breathtaker strips him bare in more ways than one. The book works all the better for having some of the finest artwork in any graphic novel, especially in its sensitive treatment of nudity. There is even a poignant moment when a Stag in a forest approaches the Breath-Taker and dies as she strokes it. This is a wonderful book. Faced with the Breath-taker, I think I?d be willing to take my chances, though I know my fate would be just the same as that of The Man, or indeed any man, woman or beast.