Tuesday, February 21, 2012

These Vampires Don't Suck: DC's I, Vampire

The article DC's New 52 - A Father's Take on a Missed Opportunity, from Beuacoup Pop's newest contributor, Patrick, got me thinking about DC's relaunch. We're six months in, and that means most books have wrapped up the first story arc. Although I wasn't able to buy, nor was I interested in, every book DC released, I did pick up quite a few that first month. Some books, like Batman, I knew I'd stick with. Others I picked up on a whim and I was uncertain as to whether or not I'd be there for the long haul.

As with any reboot, there were some hits and misses. I expected that going in. I also expected to see a lot of the same old characters and stories being carried over, with some minor tweaks here and there to justify the phrase "The New 52." What I did not expect to see, especially rolled into the main DC Universe, was a nice selection of titles from genres that have been ignored for far too long. Where prior to the relaunch DC's offerings were almost exclusively superhero in nature, you now have horror titles, war stories, fantasy books, and books centering around magic and the dark arts. The infusion of new genres was long overdue. I picked up as many of them as I could, and I enjoyed them all quite a bit, but there was one that really stood out: I, Vampire .
I have to admit that for a while I was getting tired of vampires and what I perceived to be an over saturation of vamps in the market. If my feelings were converted into an SAT analogy it would look like this: Vampires are to pop culture what Wolverine is to comics. It was just too damn much. But the idea of a vampire book set in the DC Proper intrigued me, so I decided to pick it up. I am so glad I did.

Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and drawn by Andrea Sorrentino, the book centers around two vampires, Andrew Bennett and Mary, Queen of Blood. Andrew and Mary were lovers, and it was this love that caused Andrew to turn Mary centuries ago. Now you would think they lived happily ever after. I mean, here you have two crazy kids trying to make it work like any other star-crossed lovers. But Andrew was immortal and Mary was not. So he turned her into a vampire so they could share their "lives" forever.  Yet somewhere along the line, like many couples before them, they had a falling out and went their separate ways. For most couples the catalyst behind a break-up might be a dispute over money or how to raise children. But for Andrew and Mary it was the age-old argument about whether or not vampires should rule the world. I've seen this happen a thousand times.

For his part, Andrew doesn't consider humans to be an inferior race with no value outside of being free food. In fact, Andrew doesn't hunt or feed on humans at all, choosing instead to narrow his diet to animals and alternative sources of blood. He has maintained a firm grasp on his humanity, and it could be argued that he is slightly disgusted at being a card-carrying member of the living dead. Mary, on the other hand, is a full-blown vampire supremacist. She embraced the change like a champ, and has given into all the temptations associated with being a bloodsucker. For her, vamps should rule the world, plain and simple. Mary's desire to create a vampire empire (hey, that rhymes!) plagues Andrew everyday and he lives in a constant state of regret over having turned her in the first place. When they share the page you can tell they still love each other, and Mary would like nothing more than for Andrew to join her quest and turn vampires in every city across the globe. Yet Andrew refuses, and, like any jilted lover, she's out to make his immortal life miserable.

The story is captivating but the biggest draw for me is the art. Andrea Sorrentino! WOW!! I literally gasped when I opened the first issue. His artwork is gothic. It's creepy. It fits the tone of the book perfectly. I read so many comics each week that I don't always have time to go back and re-read something, but I make it a point to go back to I, Vampire and just look at the art. Each page is better than the next, whether it's just a panel of characters speaking or a more detailed two-page spread. I'd be willing to hang any page of this comic on my wall. Expect to see a lot more of Sorrentino's work in the near future. He's going to be huge. And after seeing his take on the Man of Steel I would give almost anything to get him on a Superman book!

I, Vampire is tied with Batman for my favorite book DC is publishing right now. It delivers every month. If this book sounds like something you'd be interested in, it's not too late to jump on. We're only six issues in and the story is just starting to really take off. If you're a little hesitant to pick up a book that doesn't include your favorite characters I'd say two things: First, get over it!! This is an amazing book whether or not it has caped heroes front and center. Don't ever let that put you off of a book. Second, as I already mentioned, the events in this book take place in the main DC Universe, so expect to see characters pop up here and there. In fact, Batman has already shown up in issue # 5 . You can't go wrong with this book. Trust me.

1 comment:

ice princess said...

Chris, like you am a fanatic, I, Vampire, reader. The artwork is breath taking to say the least. It is nice to read a story where lovers do not always get along and love does not conquer all. More importantly, I enjoy the cross-over characters and how they spice up the story. I give your recommendation two thumbs up!

Post a Comment

Hello Poppers!