Review: 'I, Vampire Vol.1: Tainted Love' - Bloody Disgusting!

Review: ‘I, Vampire Vol.1: Tainted Love’

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Readers will be thirsting for more after they get their hands on I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love. Whether Joshua Hale Fialkov writes a romantically dramatic or action-packed scene, Andrea Sorrentino’s illustrations are always excellently rendered to compliment the story. Though I have not read any of the original “I, Vampire” issues, there is such an appreciation to the source material from J.M. DeMatteis and Tim Sutton that comes right off the pages. The clever writing and darkly captivating artwork make ‘I, Vampire’ one of the hidden gems of DC’s New 52. This is a vampire comic that ranks up there with the best of them.

WRITTEN BY: Joshua Hale Fialkov
ART BY: Andrea Sorrentino
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $14.99
RELEASE: October 3rd, 2012

For many centuries, the immortal vampire Andrew Bennett has protected humanity safely from the evils of the supernatural. Everything has been quiet and peaceful because of an established truce. Now Andrew’s ex-lover, Mary, Queen of Blood, has broken this sacred pact. Though his true feelings for Mary linger, Andrew must do everything he can to stop Mary from growing her undead army. As Mary’s killing spree continues, Andrew must protect her from the likes of two anti-heroes, Batman and John Constantine.

At his best, Fialkov builds the back-story of his characters through non-linear storytelling. With the perfect use of flashbacks, Fialkov is able to say so much about breakups and broken hearts. Even though his relationship with Mary ended, Andrew is still stuck in the past, holding onto his feelings for her. Andrew blindly sees Mary from his previous memories, never realizing what kind of monster she has become in the present-day. Interestingly, Fialkov tells the same event from both Andrew and Mary’s perspectives. This device allows readers to understand the two personalities and voices as the narrative is told from Andrew, then Mary. Fialkov’s storytelling is a far-cry from the mainstream comic book mold, making it feel more authentic than any of the other New 52 books.

Fialkov is having tremendous fun with the series by bringing Batman and Constantine into a world of vampires. Though these guest-stars are prominent in the story arc, Fialkov isn’t distracted by the crossovers and continues to build his own mythology. In a very smart scene, Constantine uses black magic to conjure up the sun’s power. Batman never questions the existence of the supernatural and takes the evidence as matter of fact. Andrew is still the main star as he attempts to carry out his mission, without letting even The Batman get in his way. Although a vampire book may not seem to meld well with the rest of the DCU, Fialkov manages to fuse the two worlds seamlessly.

Anyone who appreciates dark and stylish art is going to enjoy the terrific illustrations from Sorrentino. In the opening chapters, Sorrentino captures a riveting apocalyptic setting in Boston. In a visually stunning splash page, as Andrew walks across the dead and rubble, the only thing left standing is the American flag. In a breathtaking plot twist, Sorrentino highlights the suspense and terror as Andrew fails to prevent a vampire attack in the subways.

In his homage to Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula, Sorrentino fantastically visualizes the wolf and mist transformations. When Andrew’s entire body transforms, he turns into a huge and ferocious wolf. Andrew can even choke a person into unconsciousness if they inhale the mist. During the climax, the suspense heightens as Batman and Andrew find themselves trapped in an elevator, surrounded by hungry bloodsuckers. Andrew slashes his way through the horde, chopping heads off. Sorrentino keeps the eyes glued to the pages by turning a gory scene into a gorgeously illustrated sequence.

Highly entertaining from start to finish, “I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love” is sensationally creative in story and art. This is a phenomenal start to what will hopefully be a long running vampire series from DC. Volume 1 is a perfect jumping-on point for new readers. “I, Vampire” is one of the best things to have come out of the New 52.

Rating: 4.5/5 skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solisstrong>