By Stephen Wilds | Contributor Published: 07/20/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: July 17, 2013 Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewing this was a no-brainer for me. I love vampires, movies, and Guillermo del Toro, and this comic has it all. Okay, that is not entirely true, because The Strain: The Fall is actually a comic book tie-in written by David Lapham, based off of a story from del Toro and Chuck Hogan that will be coming out as a movie called The Strain in 2014. I am still very excited though!
Vampires have invaded Manhattan, but the majority of the world is not aware of what is really going on. The head bloodsucker, known only as the Master, seeks to use an ancient relic to cover the world in darkness. A small ragtag group of unremarkable people is humanity’s last hope to stop this from happening. Things are not going to be easy for them though, with the Master pulling strings through his human allies, branding those who try and warn others about the vampire threat as wanted criminals.
The Strain: The Fall #1 gives a short back story into an ancient book called the Occido Lumen, an object of great power with a cursed past that has mysteriously survived destruction multiple times. The Master is seeking the book, but as it is encased in silver, which is the vampire’s weakness, he requires the help of influential humans who side with the vampires for the promise of great power. Also, we are introduced to Ephraim Goodweather and the other members of the group. Ephraim was a doctor for the Center for Disease Control who attempted to warn the world about the vampire menace, and who lost his wife one of them before being branded a murderer. Not only must Ephraim attempt to raise his son while trying to save Manhattan from the Master, he has also begun a new romantic relationship with one of the other survivors, complicating the group dynamic as they all fight in what feels like a battle that has already been lost.
The presentation of the comic causes a mix of emotions, to which I am still not certain I have come to a definite conclusion about. Mike Huddleston’s artwork reminds me of Hellboy and Chew—a lack of detail, bold lines, with some lengthy curves and blurred items. My big issue with this style is that the comic has some panels that do not follow this pattern, varying in degree of definition, which irks me and is slightly jarring. But, to offset this, the vampires, with their elongated weaponized tongues and gore, look great with the dark color scheme, causing me to feel conflicted in my overall opinion on the art. Even though the images themselves are solid and scary, it just may not be for me.
The book is enjoyable overall, with its snappy dialogue, gruesome deaths of unaware human lemmings, and horror feel, even if the art was a downside for me, but it may not be for everyone. So far, this movie tie-in is doing its job, convincing me to get my tickets early and building anticipation, but can the creative team keep that up through the entire run of this story?
Summary:DECENT: Manhattan is under attack by a vampiric infestation and only a small group of rag-tag unimportant humans knows what is really going on. A scary and gruesome world with an odd art style sets up the side story for the upcoming film.
Author:David Lapham, Mike Huddleston
Publisher:Dark Horse Comics
Published:July 17, 2013