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Review: ‘The Strain: The Fall’ #9

An action-packed finale, “The Strain: The Fall” #9 closes its latest chapter with tons of bloody thrills. Every subplot has been geared up for the mind-blowing finish. With the conclusion of “The Fall,” readers will be amped up more for Guillermo Del Toro’s TV series to surface this summer.

WRITTEN BY: David Lapham
ART BY: Mike Huddleston
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: March 19, 2014

The bloodsuckers will sacrifice themselves in order to bring about world destruction. The Master knows that in order to strike down all his enemies, he must destroy the power plant. With the power plant explosion, humans will suddenly fear the never-ending terrorist attacks. With Ephraim searching for his lost son, Abraham and his small army have to do everything they can to stop the nuclear explosion. The key to humanity’s salvation lies hidden inside the ancient text that has never been translated.

What I particularly enjoy about David Lapham’s adaptation is how the writing captures on the essence of the tragic hero. In the war between humans and vampires, Ephraim is still fighting, even though his wife and son have been taken from him. Abraham, who has been hunting the Master since WWII, is just a heart attack away from dying. Then, there’s the Sapphires gang who are slaughtering the bloodsuckers, in hopes of making money. But in the end, what kind of profit will they stand to make when the rest of the world is gone?

Lapham emphasizes the novel’s themes during the last climatic pages. Because Lapham doesn’t shy away, the concluding tone is bleak and pessimistic. Since the beginning, Abraham knew he was too old and sick to stand up against The Master. When he was really needed in battle, Abraham had to fall back and find his pills for his heart condition. Abraham knew he was going to die, but his ending had to be on his own terms.

In his artwork, Mike Huddleston captures the nerve-wracking suspense and action during the power plant attack. Using crooked angles, Huddleston makes the action sequences seem heightened and exaggerated. During the climatic conclusion, one of the Sapphires gang members takes out a rocket launcher and blows away the bloodsuckers. You do ask yourself, where the hell did he get that? Huddleston’s fantastic artwork makes you forget logic and just enjoy the ride.

Huddleston’s artwork really shines during the pulse-pounding confrontation between the Master and Abraham. Because Huddleston designed the Master as the Grim Reaper, the illustrations make great use of shadows and height differences. The Master looms tall and large over the small and withering Abraham as he extends his long arms. Death is coming for Abraham and there is no stopping him.

Readers won’t know what hit them with the last pages of “The Strain: The Fall” #9. I can’t wait to see how writer David Lapham and artist Mike Huddleston will adapt the concluding part of the trilogy, “The Night Eternal.”

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis



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