Review: ‘The Strain’ #11

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In this final chapter, The Strain #11 concludes the visual adaptation of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s epic-sized novel. At breakneck speed, the plot twists and last-minute surprises keep the story riveting right until the last pages. Since the beginning and now in its conclusion, “The Strain” has been an incredibly fun read.

WRITTEN BY: David Lapham
ART BY: Mike Huddleston
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: February 13, 2013

Writer David Lapham lets loose on the action as he wraps up the overall story arc. After building the suspense, Lapham doesn’t disappoint when Ephraim, Vasiliy, and Abraham finally have their confrontation with the Master. With a great use of flashbacks, Lapham reveals to readers what Ephraim has to lose. Before heading into battle, Ephraim has the motivation to fight for his son and new love.

Coming full circle, Lapham brings back a theme presented in the first issue. Lapham focuses on Ephraim’s struggle with alcoholism, which was hinted as the reason behind his divorce. By staying true to the novel’s tone, Ephraim is presented as a deeply flawed protagonist because of his drinking problems. This is such a bleak ending and it even gets worse as Ephraim fails to hold onto his sobriety.

Artist Mike Huddleston depicts the attack on the Master’s hideout stunningly. This is where all the action happens as Vasiliy fires his nail gun at the windows and shatters the glass. In a smart move, Vasiliy is breaking the windows in order for the sunlight to shine in. The action intensifies as Vasiliy goes one-on-one with the Master while Ephraim is dealing with Abraham’s sudden heart attack. In the climactic pages, the Master looks more like the Grim Reaper with his skull -shaped face.

The last page of Huddleston’s illustrations really stands out if you notice how the characters are posing. There is so much detail to posture as the entire team deals with their losses. No one is able to look at each other, especially as their leader starts drinking. The only person in the room looking at Ephraim is his son.

Readers will not be disappointed as “The Strain” #11 reaches its conclusion. With the creative team-up of Lapham and Huddleston, they have translated the dark tone and spirit of the novel into the comic book medium. Readers will be anxiously awaiting for the adaption of the next chapter, “The Fall.”

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis