The Vigil #3 review

We’ve reached the halfway point of this Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month title and though it started strong and still has a lot of good things going for it, it’s beginning to become frustrating as well. Why is that? Well, let’s get into it.

Last month, the plot elements from issue one developed and set the stage for more revelations to come concerning a trail of human experimentation. Therein lies some of the frustration though, because this month we don’t get any answers. We do see more evidence of said human experimentation but it’s wrapped up in a plot that feels decidedly disconnected from the last two issues.

This is the closest tie we get to the previous issues. I can see how it could connect given enough time but it doesn’t progress the plot lines that are developing at this point. Even the side plot with the assassin Vander is dropped and the final page of the previous issue goes unexplained as well. Instead, we spend most of this chapter getting background on Nia. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like an issue three but rather a stand alone fill-in story.

On a more positive note, the characters get some much-needed development but there are so many new characters in this series that there isn’t enough room to address them all in depth. Now considering the fact that there will only be three more issues after this it is very troubling that I still don’t have a firm grasp on either the plot or characters after having read an equal number of chapters. Maybe if this was a 12-issue series I would be more comfortable with the amount of development we’ve seen so far but as it stands, it is disheartening. It stings all the more because I know Ram V is entirely capable of telling a complex and compelling original story of this length. Just look at something like Blue In Green or The Many Deaths of Laila Starr. He clearly has it in him but it seems in this case he must have bitten off more than he could chew. Starting a team book of new characters is a difficult undertaking and not something particularly common anymore. Not since the 90s have team books been as viable as a solo title. I love team books if they’re done well so that was actually a draw for me since they are rarer nowadays. Unfortunately, the way the story is presented takes away from the team aspect. Everything is filtered through Nia Saha and she is looking at the members of the team as individual entities in order to analyze them.

This is our lens for the other characters.

While the team does interact some, this narrative technique makes our interaction with them rather cold and distant. We can only see them the way Nia sees them and she doesn’t see them as a very effective team. So is this a team book or is it a solo book (about Nia) with a team acting as supporting cast members? It feels like the second option to me. As a solo book, the team is a detractor though because there are so many pages dedicated to developing them despite their periphery nature. If they were already established characters that wouldn’t be such a problem and the focus could be squarely laid on Nia.

I don’t know these characters well enough to care if they trust Nia or not.

As it is, things are muddy and underutilized. With the plot similarly remaining vague and failing to progress the whole story takes that tone.

The art gives me more to complain about this month as well. Lalit Kumar Sharma’s art remains of a similar quality as the last two issues (that is, good but not quite great) although this month he is unable to complete the comic, and Sid Kotian is brought in to do finishes on 10 pages. Both artists have styles that feel firmly rooted in the 90s to me (Sharma’s work reminds me of Barry Windsor-Smith in some ways) which helps keep things consistent but needing a fill-in is still so disappointing to me. It’s not that Kotian’s work is bad, though I wouldn’t say I was impressed, but it has become increasingly rare that a single artist can complete an entire story without delays in the last 10 years. Miniseries are generally the exception and that’s what I expected here. Consistent art. A miniseries should not begin publication until the artist is far enough along that they can guarantee they’ll be able to finish out the series on time. I’m sure there is a lot of pressure to get everything out as fast as possible but it’s the editor and creative team’s job to stop that from happening if they aren’t ready. All in all, it’s just disappointing, not a deal breaker, but it’s something I wish I didn’t need to talk about.

Recommend if…

  • You’re a Ram V fan who will read anything he writes (me)
  • Some much-needed character development piques your interest
  • Inconsistent art isn’t a deal breaker


Each issue of this comic worries me more. I want to see it succeed and I was very excited for it when it was announced, but as of now, I can no longer recommend it. I’m starting to suspect it will be nothing more than an extended ad for an ongoing series that will never happen. There isn’t enough time left to sufficiently develop the characters and as the plot meanders, what time remains is vanishing.

Score: 6/10

DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman-News with a copy of this comic for the purposes of this review.