Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Review Tuesday: THE STRAIN - the comic book series

As I was reading the trilogy of novels by the same name (reviewed HERE), I found out there was a series of comic books by DARK HORSE based on THE STRAIN.

After a safe landing at JFK Airport in NYC, a Boeing 777 from Europe mysteriously "dies" along with all crew and passengers but three. It's up to Dr. Ephraim Goodweather of the CDC Canary Team with some unusual allies providing unorthodox support to to solve the puzzle before it turns into a massive plague .
This is a modern day vampire tale. The creators took a different angle than the usual sharp-toothed Dracula types with these vampires that have stinger that shoots from the mouth and drains blood from the victims while infecting them with the worm of their virus. It's a clever and unusual take on the ancient myth of the blood-drinkers. 

From the source material, there are very few changes in this adaptation. The pace of the comics is clever, and keeps you turning pages, and dying for the next issue. 

The few changes were possibly for the better, as some details were trimmed to help the pace.

To me, the only bummer was the art. While the cover art was no less than extraordinary and looked exactly like the characters to, later on, star in the television series, the inside artwork was a bit crude. Frequently characters just looked like featureless lumbering ogres on the pages. But I come from a different era of comic books, when every character looked like they spent all of their time in the gym. Yeah, I didn't need to suspend much belief to see very ordinary characters.

THE STRAIN ran 11 issues. 


Directly following THE STRAIN, the team attempts to recover from their failure to kill The Master. They are putting their hopes in an ancient book that is rumored to contain the history of the strigoi. Meanwhile the vampire menace continues to unfold. 
Like the first set, these books are very close to the source material. The art work was in line as well. Same issues.

THE FALL ran nine issues plus one extra volume dedicated to The Silver Angel which was a new story-line that did not appear in the the original book. 


It's two years after the events of THE FALL. Mankind has been enslaved as food for the vampire overlords. The fate of the world lies in the hands of our small group of resistance fighters.
The exciting, and face paced conclusion to THE STRAIN. The art perfectly brought to life the shocking story of the fall of mankind into food animals and how the vampires became the overlords of the world. Very interesting is the theological connections to this story, which might get the Atheist fans angry. All in all, a fantastic conclusion.
THE NIGHT ETERNAL ran 12 issues. 


After reading it all, I am left with one major question. How did The Master drain the blood of all the passengers on the original plane? The strigoi are shown as sloppy blood-drinkers through all the pages with a mess of crimson following in their wake. However, on the original plane, they found no evidence of blood anywhere. How did The Master drink from all his victims to the point they died, while making no mess and doing it so quickly that all the victims appeared to have died peacefully???

This series of comics runs very true to the original literature. It seems more like a collection of story boards based on the source material for a movie. In that way, it's quite exciting. I would recommend the entire series for fans of the show, or vampire lore to get an understanding of this variation of the mythology.