It’s been a long (and expensive) month, but the fourth and final week of first issue of The New 52 has finally come and gone! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #1 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. Here we have perhaps the biggest underdog in the entire New 52 to be successful: a vampire book with unknown characters. “I, Vampire” is the type of series that would ordinarily launch and immediately be canceled within months. But with the marketing push behind The New 52, “I, Vampire” has a shot at longevity that it otherwise would never have had. Does it make the most of this opportunity?
This review will be as spoiler-free as possible.
Comic book fandom on the internet had this book pegged for a trashy vampire book that’d bomb the moment it was announced. So did I. But as information came out about “I, Vampire” and the writer talked about his plans, seeds of hope and optimism were planted. What was among my least-anticipated books of The New 52 became one of the ones I was most curious about and looking forward to. I, Vampire #1 does not disappoint.
In a story where the premise is the potential future vampire apocalypse, the focus is clearly and unmistakably on the two main characters, the vampires Andrew and Mary. It seems that love is not always enough, as Mary and Andrew cannot be together because of their, uh, irreconcilable political differences. While Mary at a glance is purest evil, she clearly adamantly believes in her cause, which earned her my sympathy and placed the thought in my mind that there may be an element of righteousness to her actions. But make no mistake–the relationship between Andrew and Mary is an evil, perverse affair. Even so, the reader is instantly captivated by the relationship between the two, and I found myself rooting for their doomed love to win out.
The story writer Joshua Hale Fialkov has crafted here has hit exactly the right notes. In and of itself, I could care less about a vampire uprising. But by making this series character-based and focusing on the dynamic between Andrew and Mary, I find that I care about the plot because I care about the characters and their relationship.
The art by Andrea Sorrentino is bleak and moody and gives off a distinct air of hopelessness. In short, the artwork is a perfect complement to the story being told here, as well as being some of the best in The New 52 as a whole.
I, Vampire #1 sets up what I hope is going to be an epic tale of vampires rising in a world of superheroes. Does an army of vampires stand a chance against the legions of superheroes in the DC Universe? I really don’t know. But I’m dying to find out–and if this book can continue at the level of quality it’s set in its first issue, I’ll be around for every issue until the end of that fated encounter.
This is not a book for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for pure superheroics and light and laughter and happiness, this is the wrong book for you. It’s not the book’s fault–it’s just not going to be the type of book that’s for everyone. This is the darkest, most horrific side of the DC Universe, and if you don’t think you’re up for that, then you’re probably right. But you’ll miss out on what looks like quite a ride.
“Where Can I Buy It?!”
The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-30% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their speed, value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.
Overall: A niche horror book starring unknown characters like “I, Vampire” was going to need to be near-perfect and instantly compelling to survive in the ocean of New 52 books being released by DC this fall. Thankfully, the first issue is all that and more. Morbidly dark yet romantically beautiful, I have no compunctions proclaiming this first issue to be in the top 5 of all the first issues of The New 52. I give this book my absolute highest-possible recommendation.