Review: ‘The Strain’ #9

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The Strain #9 is full of feverish imagination as the pages come alive with pulse-pounding action and nail-biting suspense. “The Strain” puts a fresh and modern spin on vampirism, treating it as a parasitic virus that breaks down the body, altering the host in its process. Highly entertaining, “The Strain” #9 continues the quick-pace and high action.

WRITTEN BY: David Lapham
ART BY: Mike Huddleston
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: December 12, 2012

In his adaptation, David Lapham stays true to the suspenseful tone and the characterizations originally created by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In the world of adults, Ephraim’s son, Zack, has a better understanding of what’s really going on. Because he is just a child, his attempts to warn are shrugged off because none of the adults even consider paying attention to him. Even though his ideas are far-fetched and straight out of horror movies, Zack knows what to do to defend himself.

What I really like is the introduction of the toughest and meanest exterminator you have ever seen, Vasiliy Fet. Built like a football quarterback, Vasiliy, manages to take on the vampires with his bare hands. Vasiliy isn’t even afraid of the bloodsuckers because he mistakenly thinks they are giant rodents. Ephraim’s wife, Kelly, is a teacher and she doesn’t have a lesson planned because half of her students are absent.

Mike Huddleston’s artwork brings in such stunning and shocking visuals. During the narrative, Vasiliy explains how the vampires are driving the rats out from their lairs. What I find creepy is how Huddleston focuses on the group of rats, their snarling fangs, and their beady red eyes. In a close-up, Huddleston uses a fisheye lens and distorts a reflection of Abraham in the rat’s eyeball.

The vampires are illustrated with wildly s-shaped stingers, which are reminiscent of the Reapers from Blade 2. In his slightly cartoonish character design, Vasiliy has a bulky body with a small head. It makes sense Huddleston to draw him this way because Vasiliy is more of an action hero. Towards the climax, there is a memorable action sequence between Vasiliy and a gang of bloodsuckers. He just grabs a vampire and throws him into the sunlight. In a hilarious turn, the vampires start running away from Vasiliy after one of them is burning from the sun’s rays.

“The Strain” #9 moves at breakneck speed as the narration jumps from one protagonist to another. Even if you have read the novel, Lapham’s adaptation offers enough differences to keep you intrigued. With just two issues left, all the threads are tying together nicely.

4.5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis

  • ShadowJayd

    I’ve got to be honest, I’d stopped reading the series months ago, but I was curious as to where it was headed (which is why I’m here). 4.5 just might be enough SKULLS to make me pick it up again.

  • JorgeSolis

    Me too. I needed to catch up with the first volume. I was just like, “Wow!” It’s getting waaay better!