I know what you’re thinking, because it’s what I was thinking. Vampires, really? All forms of media are being saturated by Vampires right now thanks to the Twilight phenomenon. Besides Twilight there’s True Blood, Vampire Diaries, countless Vampire movies released every year, and the incredible American Vampire comic written by Scott Snyder under DC’s Vertigo imprint. When I, Vampire, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov with art by Andrea Sorrentino, was first announced I immediately wrote it off. It was a creative team I was unfamiliar with, it smacked of teenage vampire romance, and I didn’t see how it could compare with what Snyder is doing over in American Vampire. Now that I actually have the book in my hands I can say without a doubt that out of all 52 new comics published by DC, this book is THE biggest surprise in terms of quality. Move over American Vampire, there’s a new vamp book at DC, and it’s my Book of the Week.
The premise of this book is simple. Two vampires, Andrew and his lover Mary, the Queen of Blood, are at odds over what to do about humanity. Andrew wants to coexist, Mary wants to dominate. It’s a common vampire story trope that in lesser hands could have fallen flat. Fialkov really sells the sadness of Andrew and Mary’s dilemma. I don’t want to spoil anything, but what could’ve come off as teenage angst is delivered with sophistication and gravitas not often seen in vampire stories, or comic books for that matter. The story of Andrew and Mary’s last night together is juxtaposed with scenes of Andrew walking through a ruined city, killing vampires as he goes along. By the end of the issue the two stories dovetail together perfectly and the groundwork is laid for a battle of epic proportions.
These are awesome vampires, more in line with Bram Stoker’s Dracula than Edward Cullen. Because of this, we see some awesome transformation scenes from vampire, to wolf, to bat and back again. This brings me to Sorrentino’s haunting artwork. His art is extremely similar to that of Jae Lee, best know for his work on Marvel’s Dark Tower adaptations, which is a perfect fit for a book of this nature. The atmosphere in this book is pitch perfect. The scenes with Andrew and Mary have a calm eeriness, while the sections in the town feel harsh and desolate.
Perhaps the coolest hook this book has is only teased in this issue, the fact that these vampires exist in the same world as Superman, Batman, and the rest of the heroes of the DCU. How will all these heroes react to an army of bloodthirsty vampires? I’m sure that scenario has been presented before, but here the possibility seems fresh. This book was the biggest sleeper hit of the new 52 for me, and I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. Definitely give this one a shot.