Vitriol is a world of vampires, werewolves, and things that generally go bumping through the night. It is a bit tragic, because as a work, this piece has a great deal of promise, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Visually, the pencil work is vibrant and alive. The style of artist Billy Martin is very cartoony and organic. His character design from beginning to end is fantastic, and each individual character really seems to have a visual persona all their own. I really did love seeing the collection of various vampires and werewolves; each one has a unique look and I loved them all. Backgrounds have a fair amount of detail, and each scene feels fairly well thought out. But as the pages turn, you will notice the art does not remain consistent, and often times anatomy breaks into peculiar distortions of the human form. Arms shift shape and morph, while necks and heads seem to snap and break as characters stroll about the page. The art often feels rushed, and though there is a great deal of appeal on the visual front, the constantly shifting consistency of the characters really does break any sense of immersion I previously managed. The colors by Jeremy Treece and Billy Martin, however, do manage to stay consistently well done from page one to page done.
The writing by Billy Martin is also something of an oddity. A world is built, and fleshed out with many characters, and the story itself moves along at a great clip. The action really never lets up, but in his mad dash to push forward excitement and adventure, character development and plot are seemingly jammed in as merely an afterthought. Page after page we see vampires blasted apart, and its super fun, but Martin feels the need to incessantl, have his characters dialogue, and its pretty bad. Many characters seem to have the same voice, and they all feel the need to explain things awkwardly to one another as if the characters no nothing about one another. It feels real unnatural and clunky.
There are attempts to weave a deeper plot as the story blast and explodes its way from panel to panel, but the subtle pinging of something deep below the surface feels far outside of Martin’s wheelhouse. It is kind of frustrating, because I can see the potential for the story lingering on the page, and it feels like something that could have been finely honed with the right editor playing as Martin’s accomplice.
What I really imagine this series could do, and potentially pull off, is to try and turn this comic series into a cartoon. If violence were toned down, and a few writers could work on voice and tone, a cartoon could really turn the world of Vitriol into something lush and enjoyable, but sadly in its current state, it leaves behind a taste of bitter disappointment.
In summation, the art is great and the design is wonderful, but there is a severe shortage of consistency. The writing is kind of terrible, but the premise and the characters show promise, and I think with proper edits and attention, could be salvageable.
2 out of 5.