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Writing: David Lapham

Art: Mike Huddleston

Review by Melissa Megan


The Strain is based on a series of books by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan and last week ran it’s series finale with issue #11. For a year now there have been rumblings of a tv pilot lined up with FX for this series. Yes, it’s another vampire story and I’m sure many of us are thinking ‘why the hell do we need another tv show about vampires?’, but The Strain is no ordinary story of blood sucking, capes or vamp/human love triangles.

The root of this tale is an old man named Professor Abraham Setrakian, a Holocaust survivor who claims to have spent his life hunting one ancient, extremely powerful vampire referred to as ‘the Master’. Dr. Ephraim “Eph” Goodweather is a CDC official who is sucked in to this hunt when an entire plane full of people lands with no one left alive. These two become unlikely partners along with Eph’s CDC colleague and a pest control technician, battling for their lives against a growing population of very unique monsters.

NYC has been overrun by blood sucking, seemingly mindless corpses. These are vampires of a sort, but not the romantic, charming ones of folklore. These vamps are equipped with slimy, stabby appendages like gigantic tongues with forked tips. They are grunting, hissing, disgusting creatures that also have the habit of crapping wherever they eat, providing a convenient method of tracking to Eph and his group of hunters. This particular take on vampirism approaches it as a disease  spread through a violent parasite.

The Strain is a quality series, well thought out and layered with bits of history and mythology. I appreciate that these vampires are something I’ve never seen before, as the world of fiction is currently crowded with villains of this breed. The story combines touches of history, specifically the Holocaust, and a modern setting that plays on our society’s fear of disease and apocalypse. The art of The Strain is dark and gory, never holding back on texture to give an appropriate level of gross, fleshy ‘ew’ factor to the creatures.

Verdict: Buy it. Although this series was lost somewhat in the hype of super successful, recent books in the horror/fantasy genre, it is well worth owning and I hope the tv series is able to carry the same creep factor to the screen that has been accomplished here. It’s a really creative story that is well executed. I will note that I enjoyed my second read better, I think because it‘s just one of those series that’s more enjoyable to take in a large collection rather than month by month. Lucky for me, volume two is coming to print this June, so the entire series can be collected in TPB. 

4 Responses

  1. thisjohnd

    I’ve read all three Strain novels (The Strain, The Fall, and The Night Eternal) and strangely I just found out about this comic with the final issue last week. Do volumes 1 and 2 of The Strain just encompass the first book?

    • Melissa Megan

      I’ve actually not read the books, so I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is that Vol 2 ends with the hunters finding the ‘nest’ and Eph having a face to face encounter with the Master, trying to save his family. Does that help?

  2. Savannah

    I”m looking for volumes 1 and 2 as well. Hmmm…

    What I like about the Strain is the artwork. It’s sick!! It’s not your typical vampire comic book. Truly vampires that are unique to the series.

    It brings me back to the old fashioned Universal monsters… vampires, mummies, werewolves, creatures.
    Speaking of, there’s a kick ass project on Kickstarter for a brand new monster comic book series. They already have the first concept art, and it’s sick!! The monster? “The Craver”. Sooo cool. I’m totally backing it.

    Check out their page, and check out the concept artwork!!

    I really want to see the Craver series become a reality. They even want to make the comic series into films!! Now THAT would be killer.

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