The Strain #9
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: David Lapham
Artist: Mike Huddleston (cover by E. M. Gist)
Colors: Dan Jackson
What has transpired since issue one of this series is nothing short of mayhem and slaughter. That being said, it seems as though Goodweather, Nora, and the Professor have finally begun to formulate a plan to exterminate the vampires once and for all. Speaking of exterminating, our friendly neighborhood pest control worker, Vasiliy Fet, has run into more than just rats. He’s come face to face with the horror that’s infested NYC, and held his own against the unspeakable evils that now haunt the night. He then makes a phone call to Goodweather and his team, and now they’ll set out to confront the ultimate in evil. And there will be no going back.
Nine issues in, and this story is still getting better. The build up to the end fight is almost torturous. The pest control guy is a really cool addition to the cast, and mostly because it wasn’t necessary to bring on another character, but it works perfectly, because he really adds depth to an already deep cast. The new character brings a toughness you don’t get from the two scientists, and his muscle with the Professor’s knowledge seems to give them a shot, albeit a minuscule one. Nothing like a good old impossible odds story!
Artistically, Mike Huddleston couldn’t do anything better. The heroes look as they should. Strong, smart, and ready to do whatever they have to in order to get the job done. The vampires are certainly the strong point of the book, though. It’s difficult to explain, but they just have a different look about them, and stand apart from any traditional vampire book. The lizard/amphibian-like tongues that can lash out and infect people are the biggest reason, but they (along with the entire series) have an old school feel about them.
As this series is starting to wind down, looking back, at several points it seemed as though things couldn’t get any better and would probably flatten out or even slightly decline. That didn’t happen, though, and David Lapham should be commended for his ability to keep things fresh and exciting. Gist has been a beast with these covers. They’ve been creepy and so detailed, it’s almost borderline crazy for a cover to be that good. Rating 4.5/5