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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Comic Review: Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, Volume 1

Guillermo Del Toro’s and Chuck Hogan’s The Strain, Volume 1
Writer: David Lapham

Artist: Mike Huddleston
Colorist: Dan JacksonCover 
Artist: Mike Huddleston
Horror, Action/Adventure
Dark Horse Comics

Publication Date:November 14, 2012
Format:FC, 152 pages 
Age range:14

When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Centers for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event—an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness. Collects issues #1-#6 of the ongoing series.

“This is one of the scariest comics on the stands, as genuine surprises await the reader at every turn of the page. Usually, such big reveals are left to the final moment, but with The Strain there’s almost a cliffhanger every few pages and that makes this series a truly surprising, and enjoyable, read.” —Broken Frontier

“The plague has only just begun.” 

It starts out with a foreword from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. How pleased they are to see their novel in a different median; the graphic form. As they said, “This was not an echo of another work—this was a brilliant riff, an expansion, a retelling of the tale.” And yes, it was.

The comic begins with the younger version of Abraham Setrakian, as his grandmother tells the tragic and alternately horrifying tale of one Jusef Sardu, when the boy refuses to eat his meal. A nobleman who was a giant, Sardu also had problems walking and used a wolf-head cane. His father went hunting for a wolf, believing its meat would cure his son’s affliction. Something would, just not the kind of predator his father thought. All of the hunting party dies. Sardu enters a cave where he found the bodies. Much later, Sardu returns to his family’s castle—with strength now matching his size. After that, children begin to disappear.

Next, the comic goes to the twenty-first century, where we meet Dr. Ephrain Goodweather and his young son, Zack. Abraham is now an old man, living in New York. A plane has landed at JFK, and is suspected that all within are dead. But though most are dead, three are not. Thanks to the lawyer of one of the still alive, a rock star, they are released and allowed to go home.

From there things spiral out of control for the City of New York. A war is about to begin, one that will affect every single soul of humanity. This graphic novel ends halfway into the novel, with Abraham and Dr. Goodweather and Dr. Martinez from CDC killing the youngest victim from the plane now a strigoi and her father, a “dear one,” she’d changed, plus the arrests of the two doctors from the CDC. It leaves you anxious for more of the story.

The artwork was great. The colors were muted enough to give us the perfect atmosphere needed for a horror comic. I love when they used red, either as splotches outside of the plane which put me in mind of blood cells, though one could say maybe they might be lights from the emergency vehicles, a foreshadowing of what was to come. Even when they find the cabinet/coffin in the hold, the page and it are colored red. When the vampires are in full vampire mode, don’t expect a handsome count in a cape or even fangs, or even sparkle, but something far creepier. These vamps don’t want to make love with you, no, their reason is far more darkly terrifying in this tale. And with the nudity and adult scenes, plus the frightening vampire parts, this comic is not for children or the for the faint of heart.

If you like your vampires scary, ala shades of 30 Days of Night, then this is the graphic book for you. Just be sure to keep the lights on when reading this.

5 Sheep

Guest reviewer: Pamela K. Kinney


  1. Wow, I didn't realize they made a graphic for this book. That's so awesome. Great review and thanks for sharing!

  2. I read the novel a couple years ago. Very good stuff. I forgot there was a graphic novel coming out for it. Looks like it holds up.