Review: ‘The Strain’ #1 – 4

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The Strain is an adaptation based on a novel of the same name, one of a trilogy penned by the infamous Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The book twists the conventional tale of vampires into a genius piece of horrific science fiction, with the concept of vampirism as a plague of sorts. David Lapham offers a wonderful adaptation of the story while Mike Huddleston brings some chilling art to the table. With the release of issue #5 on the way, we thought we’d get you up to speed on the vampires with the giant tongues.

WRITTEN BY: David Lapham
ART BY: Mike Huddleston
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: Out now

Lon(monster) has been covering “The Strain” steadily here on BD, but here’s the gist for those of you just coming in. A Boeing 777 lands on the tarmac of JFK Airport, but it comes to a complete stop. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather from the CDC is called in to investigate, and they soon find that not only was nearly everyone on the plane dead, but also they seemed to be preserved somehow. After that, they discover that there is a new blood infestation that’s transitioning into an epidemic. Before Eph and the others realize it, both the bodies and the infected are piling up.

Issue #1 opens in 1927 on “a dark and stormy night,” with a grandmother telling a story to her grandson. Although the grandson turns out to be the grown-up Abraham in the story, and it’s quite eerie, the flashback doesn’t seem entirely necessary. Framing the narrative this way has had little affect on the plot thus far, but perhaps they will return to it soon.

The first issue lays a really solid foundation for the other issues. Issue #2 keeps up the pace nicely, and contains steadily interesting character development. By Issue #3, the action is in full swing, with quite a few sub-plots beginning to prepare for their respective climaxes. Issue #4 doesn’t tie much up, but it does leave you hungry for the next issue. Keep in mind this is only the quick and dirty, and there’s a lot more that goes on throughout “The Strain”. Lapham does a noteworthy job of adapting such an in depth vampire tale and as the book continues, I imagine it will only get better.

At first, Mike Huddleston’s artwork seemed a strange choice, however, It’s grown on me as it captures the essence of death in the air; people are exhausted, drained, and practically zombified, and it shows. The color has a lot of red-on-blue action; in fact, blue is probably one of the most predominant colors in the series. The dark panels and heavy shadowing really brings out the vibrancy of the reds.

The Strain offers an end-of-days sci-fi twist to a classic horror story. The next arc is sure to contain more action and suspense, and with that, more bloodshed. The first four issues of The Strain are out now, and the next issue will be available from Dark Horse Comics on June 13th.

3.5/5 Skulls (so far)

Reviewed by – Kaity McAllister