Review: ‘The Strain: The Fall’ #8

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A quick read, “The Strain: The Fall” #8 is a pure shot of adrenaline. Finally, these are predatory vampires we’re actually dealing with. While I’m anxiously waiting for the TV series to surface this summer, horror fans still have this terrific adaptation of the best-selling trilogy of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. It’s one of the most consistent books on stands.

WRITTEN BY: David Lapham
ART BY: Mike Huddleston
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: Feb. 19, 2012

After the massive train attack, Ephraim’s son, Zack, and girlfriend, Nora, are on the run from the bloodthirsty parasites. Hiding in the underground tunnels, Zack and Nora follow the tracks to lead them to the surface. Their only hope is to reach New Jersey in time before the vamps find out where they are. Meanwhile, Ephraim was captured by The Master’s henchmen and rescued by Gus and the street gangs. Ephraim now joins Abraham’s small but growing army as they try to decipher the ancient book that the Master has been searching for. Whatever lies within the text may hold the key to humanity’s salvation.

What I particularly enjoy about David Lapham’s adaptation is how the writing manages to converge each subplot. While keeping the pacing at a fast beat, Lapham develops the character arcs, while delivering the surprising plot twists. I really liked how Eldritch, the wealthy billionaire in league with the Master, was brought into the fold and added tension to the protagonists. Now, Eldritch and the Master have a deadly confrontation over who is the real mastermind .

At first, Nora was the faithful love interest who never left Ephraim’s side. Now, Lapham has developed her character growth into a reluctant fighter. After Ephraim has relapsed from his sobriety, Nora suddenly became the sole parental figure in Zach’s life. Having lost his mother and been abandoned by his father, Zach just wants something permanent in his life. Nora steps up and attempts to be the guiding voice that Zach doesn’t have.

In his artwork, Mike Huddleston uses crooked angles and extreme close-ups to heighten the action-packed sequences. Huddleston builds the suspenseful atmosphere as he illustrates Zack walking through these dark and shadowy tunnels. There is just something creepy about a little kid holding a really big knife. Huddleston keeps the action flowing as Nora defends herself against a small group of vampires.
Though the tone is bleak for the protagonists, Huddleston highlights the comic relief in his illustrations. I got a kick out of seeing Gus and his street gang eating Twinkies and doughnuts while Abraham is foreshadowing the end of the world. Gus and his gang don’t care really if the sun doesn’t rise and humanity falls. These guys just want to go down fighting.

“The Strain: The Fall” #8 closes on a shocking cliff-ganger that packs a wallop. I really liked how the relationship between Nora and Zach has been built up. I want to see how that part of the story progresses.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis