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January 14, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: The Strain #2

The Strain #2
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: David Lapham (story by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan)
Artist: Mike Huddleston

As the three surviving members of the mystery flight are taken to the local hospital, we see the CDC inspecting the coffin that was found. They find that it’s only filled with dirt, but that the dirt smells like rotting flesh! Was someone in it or is it intended for someone already in New York? We have no clue, but what we do know is that the survivors are being watched closely, as is the entire situation by a man named Abraham Setrakian. It seems he knows what’s going on, and he approaches the CDC to give them some information about the coming nights. Nights that he says will be all about survival!

Wow, is all I can say. I almost want this book to be over so I can see the movie. It’s seriously that creepy. You can definitely see the movie-like script from Del Toro rise above the comic book medium with this one. It does border on being too much like a movie, but I think it definitely straddles the line well enough that even the most seasoned comic book reader would be impressed. In each separate scene, things flow smoothly, which basically means that the creep factor never gets below a 10. David Lapham is brilliant bringing this to life on the pages. As I said earlier, the script is more like a movie than a comic book, but Lapham is experienced enough to keep things very readable. I’ve become quite a fan of his, especially because of his work on Kull.

The artist, Mike Huddleston, does a great job at giving you a look at something solid and scary one minute, then in a flash just pulling back the curtain ever so slightly and scaring you even more. He’s fantastic on the covers as well, considering in this day and age a lot of books have a guy just specifically for them. I must give the colorist (Dan Jackson) a lot of credit, as well. He uses some very dark panels to make things feel vibrant. It’s strange, but he can do this somehow, especially with red and green. Definitely give this book a try, because if you enjoy horror or even just suspense, this will blow you away! Rating 4/5

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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