I love monster stories. Always have. Always will. For reasons I’ve never personally fathomed, vampire ones have always been a bit of a secret, guilty pleasure. I couldn’t say why, nor do I really have any explanation. I don’t much care for the romanticized notions that many movies and books have spun the vampire into. Rather, I think such a creature of the undead who requires the blood of living, breathing human beings would always appear more of a predator than he would some pale high school boy with the body and bulk of your average underwear model. I’d think the bloodsucker would terrify its victims. I’d think he’d drain them of their life without so much as a second thought. He wouldn’t care about who they were, what they were on the road to becoming, who they knew, what their dreams were, or any such nonsense. All he’d want was what he needed, and that would drive him to do unspeakable things.
To me, THAT’s a vampire. THAT’s a monster. THAT’s a legitimate creation of the cursed immortals.
And that’s certainly a bit closer to what shows its ugly mug in this first issue of Jonathan Maberry’s BAD BLOOD.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Trick and Kyle were always the best of friends. Through grade school and into high school. But as can happen in this crazy thing we call life Trick was thrown a massive curve ball – the kind requiring doctors and specialists and chemotherapy. While Kyle has only grown stronger, Trick feels himself finally nearing the end of the rope. Still, life wasn’t quite done with him yet, and a creature known only as a vampire decides to play another cruel trick of fate on the young man. Now, he has a mission of vengeance – one that’ll push him into parts unknown – one that’ll test the limits of his endurance at a time when he thought life was thru with him.
BAD BLOOD has a terrific premise packed into its pages. At its heart, there’s a story of friendship – Trick and Kyle have spent most of their lives “being there” for one another. However, when it appears that they’ve found themselves on a path that’ll separate them once and for all, something happens; and Trick realizes he still has more to do before he can finally lay down for the big sleep.
Plus, horror scribe Jonathan Maberry knows how to craft memorable characters, and he’s given this story a terrific start out of the gate. In fact, one might suspect that other writers would’ve dialed back some of the events in the latter half of this issue; it ends with a set-up that feels slightly contrived (if not formulaic by motion picture standards), but I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t a bit a misdirection on Maberry’s part.
Of course – as always – we’ll know more in thirty days.
BAD BLOOD #1 (OF 5) is published by Dark Horse Comics. The story is by Jonathan Maberry; with the art & lettering provided by Tyler Crook; and the issue is edited by Daniel Chabon. The release comes with a cover price of $3.99.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. If you love monsters – legitimate God-fearing monsters who’ll stop at nothing to take what they need from you – then BAD BLOOD might be what you’re looking for. As an added plus, there’s far more here than the usual high school fair – there’s personal tragedy, and there’s a rare conviction of principle behind ‘Trick,’ our lead character whose dealing with his own demons of medical science when a fantastical one with fangs rears its head into his tragic existence. Who knows? It may end up being similar to that other vampire story involving undead high schoolers, but this first installment gives me hope that I’m not alone in my desire to see monsters portrayed as Monsters once more. Hats off to a solid first issue.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital reading copy of BAD BLOOD #1 (of 5) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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