30 Days of Comics, Day 29: I, Vampire #1
This is by far the most baffling series in the relaunch who’s existence can only be explained by DC’s desperation to pad their catalog to 52 books. The original I, Vampire was a 24 issue series that ran from 1981-1983 in DC’s horror anthology, House of Mystery. Why they suddenly decided to relaunch this as an ongoing series in the mainstream DC Universe is really beyond me. Even the cover kind of turns me off from this book; it’s really easy to miss this one if you’re browsing the racks at a book store. Something about the cover art just screams bad vampire fan fiction and the contents of the book aren’t that much better.
Our comic is the story of Lord Andrew Bennet, a man who was turned into a vampire centuries ago and turned his lover, Mary Seward, into a vampire as well to apparently share his immortality with her. After turning her, Andrew is shocked to find that Mary is now an evil creature of the night whose only desire is to feast on the blood of the living! Maybe this is just me, but aren’t vampires generally evil by the very nature of their curse? What did he expect to happen? Also, why isn’t Andrew evil? Did he learn the error of his ways somehow? They mention that he drinks the blood of animals to keep him alive but why he made that choice isn’t really elaborated upon.
Mary ultimately wants to raise an army of the undead to wage a holy war on mankind. After reasoning with Mary fails, Andrew decides that he must take arms against his former lover.
This is the basic plot and while it’s not badly written, I just found it incredibly derivative and unoriginal. It really tries hard to stand out as some kind of deep and involved vampire epic, but it’s really no different from any other vampire story published in the last 30 years. The only thing I found somewhat interesting was the vampire’s bestial transformations; this is an aspect of vampires that often gets ignored in modern vampire fiction, so it was nice to see them get creative with this.
There’s also the question of how this fits into the mainstream DC Universe, especially since they make mention of Superman, Green Lantern and other superheroes. Are they really going to make appearances in this series? At the end of this book, Mary’s army slaughters an entire subway train full of innocent people in Boston. Is that going to go completely unnoticed? I know vampires are powerful, but I think the combined efforts of Earth’s superheroes can take on a few thousand vampires in scattered cells.
If I had anything positive to say, the artwork is pretty stylish and appropriate in tone for a horror series. However, it should be noted that the palette consists mostly of brown, red, black and gray. There’s also the irritating choice to use two similar shades of red for Andrew’s and Mary’s dialogue boxes. It took me a while to realize that two different people were talking at first; this just seems really sloppy on the colorist’s part and was a little distracting.
Overall, this book just isn’t anything we haven’t seen done before and done better. Frankly, I feel like the DC editors just wanted a vampire series in their lineup to try and cash in on the most recent vampire fad. This just makes the series feel very shallow and forced.
If you like moody vampire stories then maybe you’ll enjoy this; it’s better than Twilight, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
It’s been a long ride but tomorrow we finish things with my last reviews for the following series:
- Batman: The Dark Knight
- The Flash
- Green Lantern: New Guardians
- Justice League Dark
- The Savage Hawkman
- Teen Titans