Of all the various mini-lines in DC’s re-launch, it’s the “Dark” line that’s proven to be the big home run. There’s not a dud in the bunch, and wrapping up the line for October this month alongside “Justice League Dark” is the new issue of “I, Vampire.” How it fits into the rest of the DC Universe? Well, that’s a fair question.
In many ways, that promised inclusion into a greater shared world is the one weak point in Joshua Hale Fialkov’s premise for the series. It’s hard to imagine that a world with Superman and Green Lantern running around that the city of Boston could have been so thoroughly taken over by vampires, to the point that there are streets lined with corpses and rubble. This feels less like a modern day story and more like a near-future apocalypse. Fialkov has said in interviews that it will fit in with the rest of the line, though, so if such a think bothers you, it’s best to just roll with it and understand that an explanation is forthcoming.
Other than that, though, “I, Vampire” is turning out a quickly compelling story in a genre that has been overused and abused over recent years. After the first issue focused primarily on protagonist Andrew, #2 gives us a much greater insight into the antagonist of the series: Mary, Queen of Blood. Her matter-of-fact narration (“It’s amazing to be me.”) goes a long way to making her a credible villain, more than just a laugh and a pair of fangs.
When Mary rallies the vampires to sacrifice themselves to serve as martyrs for the vampire cause, it’s hard to keep from seeing the parallels to cults and splinter movements. Fialkov makes her a charismatic speaker, and coupled with her shared orbit with Andrew she becomes not just the villain but an integral part of “I, Vampire.” Andrew alone isn’t half as interesting as when he’s interacting with Mary, and their dance with one another proves to be fun.
Andrea Sorrentino delivers more moody, dark art this month, which is exactly how “I, Vampire” should look. Sorrentino (along with colorist Marcelo Miaolo) gives us a dark, grim depiction of Boston with run down streets and subway tunnels, one that is anything but inviting. Sorrentino’s art also has an attractive curve to its lines; from wisps of vapor to the shapes of tattoos, everything bends and turns slightly on the page. Even the moments of horror end up with a level of beauty as a result, and it adds to the overall nightmarish-yet-attractive look of “I, Vampire.”
Some of the re-launched comics at DC have felt like they’re moving a little too slowly, but in the case of “I, Vampire” a slower pace has worked well for these opening two issues. I feel like we’re getting a good grasp on a decidedly different corner of the DC Universe, and that Fialkov and Sorrentino have used their pages well. “I, Vampire” would fit comfortably in the Vertigo line, but I must admit that a small attraction to the comic is wondering just how the heck Fialkov will make this connect with its neighbors. Whatever the reason, though, this is an inviting take on vampires, taking them back to their roots. For one of the few new voices to the DC re-launch, Fialkov has wasted no time in making himself an important part of the line. So long as Fialkov and Sorrentino turn out comics like this, I know I’ll be thirsting for more.