Just look at Clayton Crain’s cover – Midnighter, Apollo and Jack Hawksmoor attack as vampire lord Andrew Bennett readies to bite on-off lover Mary, Queen of Blood. Horror meets sci-fi superheroics in a beautiful, intriguing design, superbly rendered, and topped by a lovely
Well, you can judge this book by that cover, because here we have the best issue of I, Vampire yet. Shadowy global protectors Stormwatch land smack bang in the middle of the war between Bennett’s vampire nation and the zombified Van Helsing cult, blows and quips are swapped and matters take a surprising turn.
Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov folds Stormwatch into his ongoing storyline as smartly as he did Batman and Justice League Dark a few issues back, capturing their voices and methods with apparent ease. This isn’t just a sales-boosting cameo, the featured trio’s personalities move the story into its next phase – Fialkov never throws away plot points, but neither does he allow things to get stale. And it’s this constant movement, the motivated changes, that mean I couldn’t switch to tradewaiting for this comic – I want my monthly fix.
Bringing Fialkov’s words to glorious life – where relevant – is Andrea Sorrentino (click on image to enlarge). The lush pages invite us to pause and stare, but the storytelling is strong enough that we barrel on to the end, knowing that the gorgeous detail can be savoured on second, third and fourth look. The figurework, the sense of place, the building of pace – it’s masterly, and made all the more ravishing by the intelligent colourwork of Marcelo Maiolo. A lord of light sources, Maiolo ups the atmosphere and adds the magic. And while Patrick Brosseau’s contribution isn’t among I, Vampire’s eye candy, his lettering is vital, and excellent.
If you’re not reading this title, this issue is as good a jumping-on point as any, with an excellent recap – witty, but not silly – and handy character introductions. It’s the anti-Twilight, an unsentimental, decidedly non-maudlin take on the undead. I think you’ll like it – if I had a reputation, I’d stake it …