And now, in the tradition of Injustice and DCeased, a new alternate continuity series putting heroes and villains in an apocalyptic scenario. Is there room for another so soon after the two earlier hits? On the basic of this terrific first issue, the answer is a big, ‘Too bloody right, there is!’
Otto Schmidt’s intense cover illo, finished over with a brilliant logo, acts as Count Dracula’s beckoning finger, inviting us into his castle of pleasure – and terror. Bram Stoker’s literary legend isn’t in this debut issue – unless he’s here as a bat, a mist or an off-panel wolf – but another of my favourite vamps is present.
Andrew Bennett, the star of various I… Vampire series, isn’t his usual handsome self; he spends the issue looking more like the Mummy than a bloodsucker after stumbling across a plot by an undead mastermind to make a meal of every man, woman and child on the planet. Reaching the Hall of Justice after a tortuous cross country journey, Andrew tells Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Wonder Twin Zan of his very personal stake in the undeclared war.
Andrew hopes that the Justice League will wrangle the world’s heroes to nip the vampires’ scheme in the blood.
And that’s as far as I’ll go here so far as the story is concerned, as the devil in in the detail and if you’ve read this far, you’ve either bought the comic, or are open to the idea. If it’s the latter case, I say buy it, grab a Bloody Mary – or pumpkin spice latte if you’re of that bent – and have a Halloween treat. Writers James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg have plotted a satisfying opening chapter using established DC history as the starting point for their book of blood. They meld superheroics with horror, and add appropriate humour. A highlight is the interplay of Hal and Zan – who knew they’d make such a fun blend? And Andrew Bennett is on classic form, totally tormented and extremely eloquent.
Schmidt’s eye-catching full-colour art is extremely effective – the compositions serve the script beautifully, while the colour choices are smart. The Hall of Justice is toned for naturalism, but flashbacks are swathed in bloody crimson and Washington DC in daytime is coloured to emphasis a night walker’s fear of sunlight.
What’s more, geeky alien Zan is actually cute! That takes talent.
Tom Napolitano’s letters, meanwhile, match the mood of the issue, with an epistle towards issue’s end looking extremely effective. Framing the issue around a letter from Andrew, as well as being a refreshing change from the modern trend for TV and tweets, is a neat nod to the epistolary nature of Stoker’s work… I’d be blooming impressed were Rosenberg and Tynion, working with editor Ben Abernathy, able to keep this up for the year-long series.
I shall find out, because I’ll be ‘coffin’ up the cash for this monthly until this time next year. I love to see a terrific creative team vamping it up.