With tons of rip-roaring vampire action, there is no way in hell that ‘The Strain: The Fall’ #2 will disappoint horror fans out there. “The Fall” attacks the vampire genre with plenty of action, suspense, and humor. This is one helluva comic book adaptation of the best-selling trilogy of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
After being released from jail, Gus Elizalde was suddenly kidnapped and held hostage by a group of vampires. A hidden breed of ancient vampires has had it with The Master and his growing plague of parasites. This secret ancient race has chosen Gus to destroy their own kind. If Gus succeeds, he will become richer beyond his imagination. But if he fails, the bloodsuckers will murder his mother and make him watch. Now that the vampires have overrun Manhattan, Gus needs help from the local gangs to take back the streets.
What I really enjoyed about writer David Lapham’s adaptation is that he kept Del Toro’s commentary about social and ethnic barriers. The storyline moves away from Manhattan and into the inner-city of New Jersey. It turns out the local gangs are the only ones tough enough to go head-on with the vampires. There is an interesting scene between Gus and two gang members because the conversation goes in-depth into personal motivations. The gang members aren’t interested in saving the world; they just want their money.
The subplot continues with Ephraim’s downfall as he fails to stick to his sobriety. While on guard duty, Ephraim takes a quick shot of liquor to cool his nerves. Rightfully so, Vasiliy, the bulky-sized ex-terminator, looks at Ephraim with real worry. As a constant reminder, Ephraim has to provide hope for his son, but he can’t do that if he’s drunk all the time.
In his artwork, Mike Huddleston builds a suspenseful atmosphere in the opening pages through the camera shots. Using crooked angles, readers will get the feeling of paranoia and disorientation that Gus is going through. As the suspense heightens, Huddleston focuses on Gus’ facial expressions through close-ups. In a later scene, Huddles makes great use of shadows, using the streetlight as his only source, during Gus’ conversation with the gang members.
Huddleston knows how to make his illustrations exciting when it comes to action. As Ephraim and Vasiliy find themselves cornered by the vampires, this is where the panels get all bloody. Letting loose, Vasiliy lifts up his nail-gun and starts shooting, aiming for the bloodsucker’s forehead. The bloodsucker’s face is screaming with his mouth wide open as Vasiliy chops off the head with his sword.
Chilling at its core, “The Strain: The Fall” #2 keeps the story moving with such a fast drive. If you’re a fan of the novel, you will be immensely pleased with how the artwork brings to life the book’s prose.
Rating: 4/5 skulls.
Reviewed by Jorge Solis
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