Posted on January 1, 2013 by DecapitatedDan
Available at Amazon.com
Issue: The Strain Vol. 1
Story By: Guillermo Del Toro, Chuck Hogan
Script By: David Lapham
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: Jan 2012
“When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Centers for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event—an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness. Collects issues #1-#6 of the ongoing series.”
Dying Breath: 5.0 out of 5
There was a point in my life, oh lets say about a year ago, when I was sick of vampire comics. The typical blood sucker story seems to just get played out when done over and over again. Sure there is some good horror and gore in those books, but the stories are so blah and easily passable. Then I get this little catalog sent to my house called Previews, and I see the cover to The Strain #1 listed in it. I’m instantly thinking, “Great, here we go again.”
Being a horror nut though, I check out issue #1, and wouldn’t you know it, my head fell off. That first issue had something new, something fresh and something I needed to enjoy a vampire comic again (seriously, the last one I really enjoyed was Devil from Dark Horse).
The artwork in this series is just drop dead GORE-Geous. I love the look of these creatures, and the way that they consume their meals. Huddleston never seems to miss a beat, as each and every panel shines! Of course some of that praise needs to be given to the amazing coloring work of Dan Jackson. I personally think that the “flatness” of the colored art is what makes it stand out to me. Sure there is some shadow work put in, but for the most part it is just flat and drab. This makes the cast stand out more, because they are not buried by layers of depth, and it also lends a hand to giving the book a good horror edge. The dullness of the colors plays creates the dark atmosphere that is needed to keep the reader terrified.
The story, which is also in prose form, I wish I had time to read it, is fun, horrific and original.
There is a really great mystery to what is going on in these pages. I think that adds a lot to the horror aspects, and almost makes this book come off as much more cinematic as to how it plays out. I will say that this volume really showcases how to build a horror story. You start off with a great introduction to the most of the cast, but you have to wait a few issues to really know who the main vampire is. The back story on the vampire and his main rival is epic and tragic. I love how it plays out as a folk tale told by a grandmother come true.
Lapham’s writing took hold of my mind from the very start and it has still not let go. The dialogue is great and the story is even greater. Luckily for you, these first few issues are now in trade form, because I hated waiting for what was to come next. The Strain is a balls to the wall horror mystery that has no signs of slowing down. The creative is delivering issue after issue, and in case you missed those issues, this collection is what you need. If you are looking for something new and different in vampire comics, this book is it. This is a must have for your horror comic shelf.
Artwork: 5.0 out of 5
Story: 5.0 out of 5
If you would like to buy or know more about The Strain you can find it at Amazon.com.
Review by Dan Royer