DC’s New 52 relaunch has focused primarily on it’s superhero line, but they haven’t forgotten the success the have had in the past with other genres. Horror is well represented in the new DC comics line, and right out of the box they scored with Animal Man, Swamp Thing and several other titles like Demon Knights and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. But there was one title listed among the the “Dark” line that had folks scratching their heads, and that was I, Vampire.
I am going to be honest with you, I had very low expectations for this book. Vampires are so 2007. And I miss the days when Vampires are the monster, not the heroic lead, but thanks to Ann Rice, vampires became tragic, brooding, romantic types. Then came Buffy, which was pretty cool, hot girl, staking bloodsuckers, except there was Angel, the vampire with a soul. From there the floodgates opened, along came Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries.
At first glance, this book looks like it’s going like that, sexy vampires and demons frolicking on the edges of society. But it turns out there is more to this book than the glistening pecs and long legs on the pointy eared hard bodies on the cover. Joshua Hale Fialkov (Echoes, Iron Man 2.0) deftly walks the line between horror and romance with this introduction of two 400 year old vampires, (not) living in New England.
Andrew wants to live quietly, out of sight, and peacefully with humanity, while Mary disagrees with her sire, and wants to make her presence known and rise over humanity, like Professor X and Magneto. Paralleling the final conversation between them, and his hunt to stop her, before she brings the attention of the world, including the superheros like Superman or Green Lantern, down on them.
Fialkov hints at Andrew’s history, but doesn’t go into great detail to explain why he is not like other vampires, leaving some mystery. But he is not shy about showing the relationship between his leads. Andrew kills one of Mary’s turned vampires, even though he could lock up vampires, and cure them by killing the sire. He doesn’t want to kill Mary.
But Mary has no qualms about killing anyone. At that, the Queen of Blood will rise, and no one, Man, Vampire, or Superpowered Alien, will stop her plans to take her place at the top of the food chain.
Andrea Sorrentino, no stranger to Vampires, having been the artist on the X-Files/30 Days of Night crossover miniseries from Wildstorm and IDW, creates an appropriate mood, along with colorist Marcello Maiolo, with a muted palate for a world in permanent night, filled with shadows and blood.
I, Vampire may not be the biggest hit of the New 52, but it has the potential to be a sleeper hit, if it can avoid the pitfalls to make it too much like Angel, and not enough like the fantastic Vertigo comic American Vampire. I do wonder how Fialkov will justify how a Vampire Army can rise up across the world, and not have the Justice League or at least John Constantine show up to stop them.
(w) Joshua Hale Fialkov (a) Andrea Sorrentino