“Dracula: The Company of Monsters” #2 follows up on the idea of a company resurrecting Vlad the Impaler, and I have to admit that it’s an interesting concept. Presented last issue as a brilliant tactician and warrior, Vlad is brought back in this issue thanks to some magic honey and a big tank of blood, for reasons not entirely clear yet. That’s what bothers Evan, the man in charge of the project spearheaded by his uncle, and his doubts come through in this issue quite a bit. He acts as an effective point of view character, but never goes far enough in his questioning, just pushed along by the momentum of events. He’s a very passive character and already a little annoying as a result.
The resurrection of Dracula is accomplished through a mix of magic and a big tank of blood, which makes for an interesting visual. The cross between science and mysticism, contrasting old and new ‘science,’ is a smart place to place this book. In that way, Evan and Vlad act as natural opposing forces with Evan’s uncle somewhere in the middle. But, Vlad is presented as strong and aggressive, while Evan has brief bouts of activeness, including trying to talk with his mother about his uncle’s plans, but never really does anything. He seems trapped where he is for no reason other than an inability to simply leave. Why he continues to work on this project is a question never answered despite it being implicitly asked.
Scott Godlewski’s art has a rough, quirky quality to it. His characters look a little off and distinctly his own with their thin eyes and somewhat stilted body language. However, that stilted look gives his figures an attractiveness and makes them more interesting to look at. He’s good at depicting emotion, like the look of rage and defiance in a young Vlad’s eyes on the first page. Even without the captions, you can clearly tell what the boy is thinking. Godlewski is at his best when drawing Evan and his uncle together, contrasting the two: the young, morally sound but weak man with the older, fiercer, smarmy man.
There’s potential in “Dracula: The Company of Monsters,” especially if the end of the issue indicates that Vlad will be used to help run the company, so it can crush its competitors. Shifting his skills from the field of battle and the monarchy to the board room could be very entertaining. Where a character like Evan fits in isn’t clear, though. If anything, he seems redundant and a distraction right now. He brings the reader into the story, but loses his function after that’s accomplished. All in all, this is a solid book with plenty of potential. Hopefully, that potential will be realized.