Never slowing down, “The Strain: The Fall” #5 delivers a twisted roller-coaster ride at full speed. While anxiously awaiting for the TV series to surface on FX, fans will have to settle for this amazing adaptation of the best-selling trilogy of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan.
WRITTEN BY: David Lapham
ART BY: Mike Huddleston
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: Nov. 20, 2012
With so much burden resting on his shoulders, Ephraim has to give up the only thing he truly cherishes before he can go after The Master. Unable to protect him as a father and a hero, Ephraim has to let go of his son, Zack, and send him off to safety. While Ephraim is saying his last goodbyes, Vasiliy the exterminator has to set off bombs down below the subway tunnels. As the clocks starts ticking, Vasiliy has to make sure this is a deep wound in the Master’s plans, without actually getting himself killed in the process. But with Manhattan surrounded by vampires, how long does humanity have before The Master covers the entire planet in darkness?
What I particularly liked about David Lapham’s adaptation is how the writing jumps back and forth between subplots in a nonlinear fashion. Though we don’t see the much-talked about subway explosion, you can tell Vasiliy caused so much destruction to himself and the vampires. I wouldn’t think of this as a cheat because the narrative focuses on its themes about consequences and redemptions. Lapham follows the ensemble cast as they react out of desperation when they are pushed into a corner.
Ephraim’s downfall is spiraling out of control in this installment. Without his son by his side, Ephraim has no one to hold him back as he succumbs to the bottle. No longer sober, Ephraim forces his son to leave before he sees him as a truly fallen hero. While Ephraim loses himself to alcoholism, Nora jumps into the forefront. Though she is not related to Zack, she leaves behind Ephraim and protects Zack as if he were her own child.
In his artwork, Mike Huddleston heightens the suspense during the dramatic high points of Ephraim’s narration. While Ephraim is describing how the demons of the past affect the future, Huddleston illustrates the Brooklyn Bridge wrapped in fire and smoke. Ephraim has given up on hope and Huddleston conveys that emotional loss through extreme close-ups. As the camera closes in on their faces, Ephraim is on the brink of losing his mind while Nora is trying to hold back tears.
My favorite part of Huddleston’s illustrations is the railroad massacre, which has no dialogue whatsoever. There is no emphasis on sound effects, nor on the screams, as the vampire wipe out the train passengers. Huddleston wants you to see the panic on the faces of the passengers as they run from one train car to another. Aimed at shock value, Huddleston illustrates the bloodsuckers tearing at the necks with their long serpent-like tongues.
It looks like Ephraim and the rest of his team are on a losing streak in “The Strain: The Fall” #5. I really can’t wait to see what happens next issue.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis