by Joshua Hale Fialkov (writing), Andrea Sorrentino (art), Marcelo Maiolo (colors), and Pat Brosseau (letters)
The Story: Andrew meets with a relatively new vampire still learning about undead life, but is this vampire redeemable?
The Review: It’s quickly become clear that I, Vampire’s greatest asset thus far has been it’s atmosphere. Without being gritty, this is really the book that lives up to the “dark” in “DC Dark.” That’s not to say that it’s overwrought or overly violent or twisted, only that there’s a constant edge of downcast, doomed horror to the book that gives it a particular bite. That’s here again this month; this is issue is a real downer in the best way possible. I, Vampire continues to be a moody comic, which makes it a comic that creates a world to get lost in. It also leads to a book that is different from any other DC offering. Of course, Sorrentino is a big part of that. His art is absolutely gorgeous and is as much mood as it is storytelling. It’s distinctive and it’s gorgeous and Sorrentino has made himself an irreplaceable part of the book.
The plot this month involving Andrew’s meeting a newer vampire really lends itself well to this. It allows Fialkov to show the difficulty of following the straight and narrow for a vampire, while also still making it clear that being evil, for a vampire, is a choice, even if there is pressure to go one way.
The end result is a plot that shows just how easy it is to give in to the beast within. This also emphasizes just how unique Andrew Bennett really is and, in so doing, it makes the character appear all the more isolated, highlighting Fialkov’s vision of Andrew as a kind of vampiric iconoclast.
In the midst of all of this is John Constantine. I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a guest appearance from the DCU in I, Vampire, but Constantine fits right in. If there’s one downside to his appearance, it’s that I wish his entrance into the comic was set-up a bit in a previous issue, as opposed to him just randomly showing up this month. That said, he’s a fine addition, is his usual non-chalant, badass self, and his having such a different personality to Andrew makes for a solid dynamic.
While there’s a lot to like this month, I also should say that this is still the weakest issue of I, Vampire thus far. It’s been hard for me to pin-point why, but this issue feels less dense and is a quicker, simpler read. The storytelling feels less nuanced, more glossed over. It’s been hard for me to figure out why this is, but I think it’s the lack of narration. The narration added so much to the book, making it more psychological and alive. Without it, things feel less cerebral. I hope Fialkov goes back to it. The fact that there’s also a couple of double-page spreads to go along with the lack of narration makes for a book that feels flashier, but at the cost of the more valuable stuff.
I also have to say that I did cringe a bit at the last page. It’s meant to be a shocker, but it really is such an impossible coincidence that even Charles Dickens might’ve thought twice about it. It’s just too ridiculously convenient and it’s a shame to see Fialkov stoop to that.
Conclusion: A bit of a falter for this fantastic series but hey, a weaker issue of I, Vampire is still pretty bloody good.