Monday, 18 February 2013

I, Vampire: Volume 1 Review

Way back in September 2011, I, Vampire was among the titles launched as part of DC Comics' New 52 initiative. It was a title that many people, including myself, missed out on in its original run. So now that it's out in Trade, should you give it a read? Definitely. I, Vampire is an under-appreciated gem that all comic fans should have in their collection.

I, Vampire revolves around the character of Andrew Bennett, a vampire who for many years has been trying to stop his former lover Mary (also a vampire) from rising up with her army of vampires and killing all the humans. However, in the events of the first issue of this collection he finally loses control of her, and so after years of peace between the vampires and humans a dark time begins. The first volume follows the story of Mary and her army mass-murdering humans across America and Andrew's desperate attempt to stop her, with the help of his friend John, the not so friendly Tig, and Batman himself. And it is a blast to read.

It's also great for new comic readers wanting to dip their toe into the DC pool, as I, Vampire has a very self contained story. You don't need any knowledge of the DC super-heroes to love this book, so if you want an easy jumping-on point, this should be it.

Joshua Hale Fialkov writes a variety of great characters: some are likeable, some are insane, some are just plain badass - but all of them are interesting and character's I'd like to see more of in the future. Whether we will or not is a different story seeming as I, Vampire is being cancelled after it's nineteenth issue! *sad face*

Fialkov manages to write Andrew as a good vampire - but not in an annoying Twilight way - he's a good vampire, but still a total badass. He may still love Mary, but he doesn't sit around staring at her, instead he actively tries to kill her which is a lot more entertaining to read.
Meanwhile, the supporting cast is also good. John, Andrew's oldest friend, comes across as an intelligent character and one that - despite being a lame human - can hold his own against the vampires.

And then there's my two favourite character's in this book: Tig, a vampire hunter who forms an uneasy alliance with Andrew, and Mary herself. I know it sounds strange to say the villain is one of my favourite characters in a comic, but Mary's attitude and behaviour is just so deliciously evil that it's hard not to like her.
Then there's Tig, who I'm particularly interested in after reading the end of Volume 1. No spoilers, but what I will say is after that twist of an ending there's going to be tough times ahead for Tig!
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Then, there's the art by Andrea Sorrentino. Before I, Vampire, it's fair to say he was a relatively unknown creator. Now though, I'm happy to say that this book has led to him being discovered (he was recently bumped up to the much higher profile book: Green Arrow). Sorrentino's art fits perfectly for a book like this.
The darkness of the art works well in making you feel immersed in this darker side of the DC Universe, and most of the time looks absolutely beautiful. However, there were a few panels in the book where I thought things got a bit too dark, and too much detail was sacrificed as a result. On the whole though, Sorrentino's art fits this book perfectly and I hope to see more from him in the future.

One other flaw that also holds I, Vampire back is that some pieces of dialogue feel a little out of place, and move the story on a little too fast. Not a huge problem, but it did take me out of the story a couple of times throughout the book.


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