Saturday, July 20, 2013

Review: THE STRAIN: The Fall #1

DARK HORSE COMICS – @DarkHorseComics

STORY: Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
SCRIPT: David Lapham
ART: Mike Huddleston
COLORS: Dan Jackson
LETTERS: Clem Robins
COVER: E.M. Gist
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (July 2013)

Part 1

Guillermo del Toro has directed such movies as Blade 2, the Hellboy movies, the Oscar-nominated Pan’s Labyrinth, and the new release, Pacific Rim.  Chuck Hogan wrote a novel entitled Prince of Thieves, which Ben Affleck took and adapted into the Oscar-nominated film, The Town (2010).

In 2011, Dark Horse Comics began an 11-issue comic book adaptation of Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s 2009 vampire novel, The Strain, the first book in The Strain Trilogy.  Now, the second book in the trilogy, The Fall (2010), is also getting the comic book treatment.

The Strain: The Fall is produced by the same team behind The Strain comic book series.  David Lapham is writing the comic book adaptation.  Mike Huddleston is the artist with colors by Dan Jackson and letters by Clem Robins.

The Strain’s central character is Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather, head the CDC’s Canary Project.  Eph began tracking a mystery illness at J.F.K. International Airport in New York City, after a Boeing 777 landed with everyone aboard dead, except for three individuals.  That was the beginning of a plague of vampires.

In The Strain: The Fall #1, the war against The Master, the dark lord behind this vampire invasion continues.  Eph, Nora Martinez (his second-in-command), Professor Abraham Setrakian (an aging Holocaust survivor familiar with The Master), and Vasiliy Fet (the rat exterminator) prepare to make their next move.

The Professor tells Vasiliy the centuries-spanning tale of the Occido Lumen, the book that might have the answers to stopping the Master.  Meanwhile, Eph’s ex-wife, Kelly, now a vampire, stalks her “dear one,” their son, Zack.  Eldritch Palmer, the CEO who helped the Master, makes his strongest demand yet for his reward.

Not that it is a bad thing, but The Strain: The Fall simply continues the earlier series.  In fact, The Strain: The Fall #1 could well be The Strain #12.  But that is a good thing.  The Strain is one of the best comic books of the last two years and is also a superb horror comic book.

David Lapham and Mike Huddleston are maintaining the high-quality that has become a hallmark of this comic book adaptation of The Strain Trilogy.  I will say that this first chapter seems like too small a slice of a larger story, as if issue #1 was holding off before beginning the real drama of this new series.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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