March 3, 2011

Dynamite Reviews: The Complete Dracula

The Complete Dracula HC
Publisher: Dynamite
Writer(s): Leah Moore & John Reppion
Artist: Colton Worley

I know everybody out there thinks that because they’ve seen Interview with the Vampire or even Twilight, they know about vampires. Well, I’m hear to tell you that you need to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula or this mini-series. Yes, if you don’t want to read the original book, or like me, need pictures because great artwork surpasses your own imagination, then this is the book for you. I’ve also read the Marvel mini-series (Roy Thomas, Dick Giordano), and that was pretty good, but this one is definitely superior.

If there is anyone left on the planet that has not read the original book or any adaptation, you’re in for a great ride with this one. It definitely held true to the original (obviously condensed a great deal) for being in comic book format and only five issues, but the integrity of the story is there, and the visuals were very good. Leah Moore and John Reppion wrote the story, while Colton Worley (Green Hornet, Kato: Origins) had the duties on artwork. Moore and Reppion are a husband and wife team (Moore, the daughter of legendary Alan Moore), and have worked on several projects together for Dynamite, IDW, Top Cow, Image, and Dark Horse.

The comic was true to the book with the cast of characters. Jonathan Harker – the real estate solicitor traveling to Transylvania to meet with the enigmatic Count Dracula. Mina – his beloved wife, but also a part of Dracula’s scheme unbeknownst to her. Lucy – Mina’s best friend, and Dracula’s first victim in England. Professor Van Helsing – the strange doctor brought in from Amsterdam to attend to Lucy after she felt Dracula’s bite. Dracula – the reason for the story, the antagonist, the killer, the hated, and the pitied. These characters, along with two of Lucy’s other love interests, a doctor from the local sanitarium, and one of his patients, spin a tale of love, mystery, horror, and fear, that can be enjoyed by readers of any age. Worley’s artwork was nothing less than exceptional. The early scenes of Harker traveling through Transylvania with the snow falling were magnificent. The chapter when Dracula is aboard a ship and systematically murdering the crew members was also very intense.

The premise for this classic tale is very simple. Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania at the behest of a Count Dracula to assist in his purchasing of land in England. Once there, Harker realizes that he is in the clutches of something he doesn’t truly understand, but does fear. Dracula eventually makes his way to England via boat, and while at sea, he kills everyone on board the vessel. Once in England, he drains the life from Lucy, then he sets his sights on Jonathan’s beloved Mina. Jonathan must escape Dracula’s castle and bloodthirsty women, and then save Mina and battle Dracula with the help of Abraham Van Helsing and Lucy’s friends.

There were two specific things that really made this adaptation stand out for me personally. First was the demeanor of Prof. Van Helsing. Most adaptations (movies and print) show him as this fearless man who could topple King Kong. In this version, however, he showed signs of fear, and even doubted his own ability to get the job done. I found that to be quite refreshing. Second, was the portrayal and actions (artwork specifically) of the mental patient Renfield. One panel in the book specifically, that really was marvelous and frightening at the same time. It showed Doctor Seward, of the sanitarium, speaking with Renfield one day. He tells Renfield that a beautiful lady wishes to speak with him, and this excites him very much. Now, keep in mind that Renfield has been keeping flies and spiders in his cell as pets for quite some time. Upon hearing that a pretty girl wants to speak with him, he tells Dr. Seward that he needs to “tidy up” his cell. He proceeds to grasp the spiders and flies from his cell floor and eat them. Colton Worley did a magnificent job of showing this action from the view as if from inside Renfield’s mouth, not watching from Dr. Seward’s viewpoint.

In closing, I’d like to try and convince anyone out there that hasn’t picked this up to do so immediately. It is a very good read and my only complaint in the entire book, is that one or two panels were shaded slightly too dark, which made it difficult to tell what was being portrayed. Other than that, this book was flawless, in my opinion.

Editor’s Note: has been pre-nominated for an Eagle Award! Please click here to vote for us in the “Favorite Comic Book Website” category (question #27). Thank you for your continued support!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. So this book actually gives vampires a GOOD name? I really like that cover though and if it’s a straight up great story then it’s going to go on my “To Get” list!

  2. Kristin

    Billy, move to Texas so I can borrow this from you.

  3. Billy

    @Speech- You’d really enjoy this one. It has all the aspects of a great novel and a great comic book.
    @Kris- You could probably get the singles cheap from a certain website we all know and love (or even Lonestar). 😀

  4. Achmed Bin Fahrid Al Rahjim

    Totally mild and uninteresting version of the classic tale, which contrary to more than half of the many existing comic adaptations, doesn’t even follow the original book text.

    It doesn’t help that its own text is mostly formed by short one-liners and abridged dialogues, if we can call them that, which dump away most of the original story. The art ranges from competent to pretty good, but unfortunately, it can’t and doesn’t make up for a book all by itself (either a comic, or any other kind of book, unless it’s an illustrations book for illiterate viewers!).

    There are far better, far more faithful and far more entertaining comic adaptations of Dracula out there. The best score I can give this “light” brand of a comic book, with its pretty art and its almost total lack of substance, is 2 out of 5.

    • Ouch. Achmed. So, were you and Billy reading the same book?
      I can understand having differences of opinion about the art and the storytelling itself, but…

      He said “It definitely held true to the original (obviously condensed a great deal) for being in comic book format and only five issues, but the integrity of the story is there”

      And you said it doesn’t even come close.

      So, which is it?

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