Rodney Barnes, writer
Jason Shawn Alexander, art
Luis NCT, colors
Marshall Dillon, Letters
In the previous issue we were introduced to a detective, James Sangster Sr., a.k.a. “Gangster”, who uncovered a mystery surrounding vampires who’ve been killing the marginalized population in the city. At the end of the issue James Sr. dies. This issue begins, James Jr., “Jimmy”, follows evidence left by his father that connects the vampire epidemic to the second president of the United States, James Madison. More evidence connects Tevin Thompkins, a missing resident of Hell Hall housing projects in Killadelphia to the group. Jimmy and his father’s partner, a doctor named “Jose”, now must find a way to stop the epidemic before it spreads throughout the city.
This is an interesting story because of the parallels drawn between vampires, led by the resurrected second president of the United States, and the condition of the impoverished people of Killadelphia. Tracking the vampires back to the second president speaks to the epidemic nature of poverty and power differential has had on society. There’s also a mystery behind the vampires, how they spread, and how it all began that keeps the reader engaged.
Another interesting connection in the story is the similarities between father and son who are emotionally distant yet both detectives. Both are incredibly invested in their work yet couldn’t relate to each other, prior to the father’s death. Near the end of this issue Jimmy struggles to answer the question, “How do we stop it [the vampires]?” The question lingers despite the answer given by James Sr.: “Fire, wood, natural elements do us in.” (spoiler alert) You see, James is now a vampire!
The art is haunting, blunt, and casts shadows throughout. The cryptic nature of the people and faces speak to the secrecy and mystery surrounding the epidemic of vampire infected people.The dark lines and tones speak to the secrecy surrounding everything. Chaos lives in hidden places and shining light on the covert is messy business. The art supports this element of the story beautifully. I highly recommend this book to fans of socio-political, vampire, and investigative comic books that look gorgeous. Overall = 9/10