I’m always suspicious of vampire literature, comics or prose. I feel that’s justifiable in light of recent pop culture. But what continues to astound me is the fact that certain writers can still surprise me when it comes to vampire lore and plotlines. Jonathan Maberry’s “Bad Blood” #2, while not as sobering as issue #1, continues on a steady beat of realism mixed with fantasy that poetically brings you to your knees in fear and sorrow, with a chin toward the sky waiting for that moment of vindication.
Trick’s search for his vampire adversary leads him straight into the arms (well, knee to the groin) of Lolly, a “Candy Goth” stripper with a dark past and an earnest longing to be whisked out of this mortal realm by A Dark One. Though she doesn’t quite believe that a vampire attacked Trick, she does believe in vampires and she knows all the clubs and all the right people to help him in his search for his best friend’s killer.
However, instead of the vampire-fanaticism helping Trick, it becomes yet another albatross around his neck. The vampire worship runs so deep that either no one believes Trick because they’re wannabes who’d wet themselves if a real vampire ever exposed it’s fangs OR because they don’t believe a vampire could ever be so evil. To many of them, the creatures of the night save humans from mortal misery, not run around killing University students. Needless to say, Trick’s fetish club tour is fruitless, albeit eye-opening. That is until his search ends with disastrous consequences, though not entirely undesired consequences in the grand scheme of things.
What Maberry has done with this comic is nothing short of astonishing. He doesn’t create a world full of vampire devotees, role players, and believers—he sheds light on this world. I know this because when I was getting my masters I wrote my thesis on humans who believed they were real, in-the-flesh, vampires. I can’t make this shit up and neither does Maberry. While reading “Bad Blood” #2, I was continually swept away into that place, a place where these people truly existed and took themselves very seriously, and a place where I had the same reactions as Trick. I simply can’t enumerate how many times Maberry hit the nail right on the head.
Until now, we’ve only dealt with hyper-fantastical vampire plots. Whether horror or romance or a little bit of both, they’ve never been bathed in so much reality. It would be a sin not to credit a good portion of that authenticity to Tyler Crook’s viciously straightforward and unapologetic art.
At it’s core, “Bad Blood” is a story of escapism. Whether through death or the illusion of death. And while some have no choice in their escape, others seek after it. As Maberry often does in his writing, he lets you decide what side of the fence you sit on.
This comic is one part truth, one part realism, and one part fantasy. Unless vampires truly exist. Then it’s three parts scary-as-shit reality.
Review by- Bree Odgen