July 2, 2012

Dark Horse Reviews: The Strain #5

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Written by: Billy
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The Strain #5
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: David Lapham (story by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan)
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Colors: Dan Jackson
(mature read)

Are vampires your thing? How about vampires that look like infected zombie-like serial killers with tongues longer than Gene Simmons? Alright, let’s throw in some Nazis and a flashback to WWII, and you’ve got one of the best horror comics on the shelves, straight from Dark Horse! In this issue we get to see how a young Jewish woodworker saw his family decimated by the war, then had to endure a concentration camp himself. If that wasn’t enough, the bunkhouse he stays in gets a weekly visit from a vampire named Sardu, one that he was warned about in his childhood by his grandmother. This is no ordinary vampire, though, and Abraham Setrakian must find a way in present day New York to rid the city and the world of this ages old curse before it decimates everything in its path!

This book continues to be highly impressive even on its fifth installment. You can really see a lot of depth, especially after this issue and the whole Nazi angle that bridged the gap between Abraham’s youth and his mid-life, until now, in his elder years. Most other books throw all that at a reader by the second or third issue, but this one gave us more from the present day, and that is very cool. Lapham is really outdoing himself on this book, especially when you consider all he has going on right now. He really has the perfect match of action and dialog in this book.

Huddleston and Jackson are a perfect mix for the artwork, creating dark, scary sequences, but then switching over to conventional scenes when needed. Overall, the book has very good work, and the proof is in the characters. The old country Germans and Jews have a tough exterior, as one would expect. The Nazi uniforms and vehicles look spot on (now I’m no WWII history buff, but they look awesome), and the grey colors that give the book a black and white feel are contrasted by reds that aren’t extremely bright, but enough so that they really make the characters jump off the pages. The covers are always fantastic, too, and give you insight to the story without really giving anything away. To say that this book is highly impressive doesn’t even do it proper justice. Rating 4.5/5

Billy Dunleavy



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