Series Review: The Strain
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.