The vampire origin story is hard to do well because most readers know how it works and have seen it all before. In “I, Vampire” #0, Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea Sorrentino don’t try to re-invent the wheel — which is perhaps wise — and instead just try to deliver a satisfying comic book. Nothing about it will blow your mind, but it’s a solid story with beautiful art and an appealing new reader-friendliness.
Fialkov does a particularly nice job of establishing who Andrew Bennett was and how he became what he is (although he leaves plenty of mystery as to the why) while also establishing Bennett’s relationship with Mary. The relationship gives the lovers a twist fitting for their centuries long doomed romance, and it’s yet another example of Fialkov allowing Bennett to be the star of this book, while never underestimating the importance and influence of Mary. The characters are quite simply more interesting together — whether that means at each other’s throats in love or hate doesn’t really matter. Fialkov clearly gets that and plays into it. The center of this book is strong character work, and it’s likely one of the reasons it works in a genre (Vampires) that frequently feels oversaturated and tapped out.
Sorrentino continues to be an incredibly well-chosen artist for this title, and I’m hard-pressed to imagine many doing it better. In fact, without Sorrentino, much of what works so well in “I, Vampire” might not work at all. His style is reminiscent of Jae Lee, but has its own unique feeling, and it’s a perfect tonal match for Fialkov’s characters, setting and writing style. Sorrentino really excels with a story like this: dark and moody, full of rain and high-drama. Fialkov gives him plenty of opportunities to really cut loose what with magical transformations, wild mystical characters and the kind of storms that legends are made from. Marcelo Maiolo’s colors are equally evocative, matching well with both Sorrentino’s style and Fialkov’s story choices. Occasionally the work is a bit too dark and becomes hard to read, but it’s difficult to complain since it’s intended to be a dark book.
A year ago, “I, Vampire” was a title I never really had much interest in, let alone expectations that it could last in such a massive re-launch considering its characters were new and without an existing fan base. However, consistently good work from both Fialkov and Sorrentino has made it one of the stronger titles of the “New 52” and this zero issue is a solid jumping on point for anyone that has been intrigued but hesitant.