Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Scores One for the Bloodsuckers!

I, Vampire:  Tainted Love
Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino
Published by DC Comics
4 Out of 5 Stars

I, Vampire is part of DC's The New 52 and is a relaunch of the storyline that ran in the 1980's. I know nothing about the original series, so you'll find no complaints here about how this updated version matches up against the original because I have no idea. What you will find is a heap load of thanks to DC Comics for reclaiming the vampire from a swooning tween audience. Between I, Vampire and American Vampire (published by DC's Vertigo), vampires that hack, slash, bite, and kill have been returned to us. Blessed be the comic book gods.

Vampire Andrew Bennett made a serious miscalculation when he turned his lover, Mary. He apparently thought they would while away eternity together, needing no one but each other . . . and she thought they would raise a vampire army and conquer the world. It's not too long before Mary tires of Andrew's kinder, gentler vampire and decides to raise hell on her own. Taking the name Mary, Queen of Blood, she sets about gathering her minions (note to self: must get minions) and prepares to slaughter humanity. Of course, Andrew is the only one who can stop her. Ain't love grand? 

I really enjoyed the first few issues of the series, especially the guest appearances by Batman and John Constantine, but the final issue in the Tainted Love story arc seemed rushed, as though they were just anxious to establish Andrew's connection to Justice League Dark. (I also read this in the issue format, not the collected volume, and it really pisses me off when part of the story appears in another comic book title; apparently, some pretty significant chunks of the story appear in Justice League Dark).

Particularly strong here is the artwork. Mary gracefully floats through the air, part mist and part beautiful, tattooed monster. Andrew shifts into various shapes, including a particularly horrifying werewolf. Andrea Sorrentino creates a dark, menacing world where characters appear in shadow and slink through the night, covered in blood. 

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