The problem with adaptations is you can’t please everyone. Those who love the source material will be mad when it’s not exactly the same while others will be angry not enough has changed to warrant a second viewing of the source material. This goes for books to movies, movies to books and, in this case, books to comics.
Then again, adaptations of books into comics has the benefit of delivering the exact same material without needing changes. The conversion isn’t as harsh as book to film, largely because the comic can follow the story exactly without worrying about time constraints. So it goes, Guillermo Del Toro’s vampire trilogy reaches the second book in the series with Dark Horse comics recent release…is it good?
The Strain: The Fall #1 (Dark Horse)
Though Del Toro’s bombastic mechs fighting monsters film Pacific Rim blasted off into theaters last Friday little do most know his vampire magnum opus is getting the comic book treatment as well. The first book was properly adapted over the last few months with the second book, The Fall, beginning its adaptation into comics this week. Oh and there’s a full TV series in the works too! I read all three books, with a review of book three over a year ago, and adored the series.
This series will largely be noted for its very monstrous vampires and the incredible detail of how they would function in the real world. These vampires don’t have teeth but rather stingers and they are all mindless monsters controlled by a single vampire known as the Master. David Lapham is in charge of adapting the work of Del Toro and Chuck Hogan and judging by this issue he does a very good job adapting the source material.
The very phallic stinger is a surefire genius move by the creators.
The story so far is simple enough. The Master travelled on a plane to the USA to begin his takeover of the world. Everyone on this plane was turned into a vampire. An old man holds key information on how to stop the Master as well as knowledge of his past that dates as far back as the Egyptians. Ephraim is our main protagonist. His wife has been turned and she’s after his son. Along with the help of a doctor, a pawnbroker and an exterminator he’s trying to stay alive in a now vampire invested Manhattan.
This makes me thirsty.
This issue opens on the history of an ancient book known as the Occido Lumen. This book holds secrets in stopping the Master. The first six pages outline the history of this book and the power it has been known to have by the people seeking it. It’s a good way to add some weight to this story and showcase just how globally and historically the events taking place are. This issue also sets up just how important it is that our heroes acquire this book. Without it, the world may be doomed.
This issue does a decent job setting up all the characters involved, but anyone coming in blind may feel a bit confused. That said, the immediate danger is quickly expressed as well as the overarching goal the second book takes on. Anyone looking for some action packed horror have come to the right place.
The art by Mike Huddleston continues the weighty feel to the characters as he did in Butcher Baker but the coloring helps keep the characters grounded and realistic. His style has a sense that everything will get away from him as characters sometimes appear top heavy or impossibly stretchy, but those aspects are left with the monsters. That tends to give the monsters a wildness and make the smallest of encounters chaotic and further ground the very normal looking humans.
That grounding is aided by colorist Dan Jackson who delivers interesting choices as far as skin tone and setting. A drab room may get a bit of a flourish here and there and contrasts always work nicely.
Manhattan has become a war zone.
- Fascinating opening history of the Lumen
- Art works
- A so-so introduction of characters for newbies
This should be one fascinating TV show which is made apparent by the quality of this comic. The story is taken very seriously and the art made to look realistic but also brooding with dark undertones. The action works really well in this issue and the opening pages give the entire story enough weight to capture readers imaginations.
Is It Good?
Yes. More action than horror, but overall a good ride.