Rodney Barnes, writer
Jason Shawn Alexander, art
Luis NCT, colors
Marshall Dillon, Letters
This issue begins with the inner monologue of James Sangster Jr. who takes over as the lead detective defending Philadelphia against the vampire horde that besieged it during the first volume. The antiquated leadership of the zombified former president John Adams has been updated by a new leader, Abigail, who is much more pragmatic and focused on a simple goal: preserve the food supply and make money. We are introduced to a new cohort, “Jupiter” a former slave turned vampire and close confidant with Abigail. The fight remains the same for the protagonists: to save Philadelphia from vampires while protecting the ones they love.
The updated narrative improves the story because it diversifies the motivations of the evil vampire mob. They go from simply wanting to defeat Philadelphia or self-sabotage their food supply to a group that employs higher level thinking: how to control the food supply. I was very happy to see this adjustment in the story which saved it from being just a trope about how all villains want to destroy the world. Also, the addition of Jupiter’s legacy is complex and attunes with current events in the cultural zeitgeist.
The father/son layer of the story pivots as well. This time coming from the perspective of a son who becomes aware of his father’s sacrifice and courage and wonders how he can live up to his father’s legacy. It speaks to how our relationships with our parents change as we grow and as we experience failures of our own.
I continue to love the art in this because tonally it matches the story beautifully with its use of thick black lines, shadows, and prominent display of red. The muddy and haunting quality of the art reminds me of Michael Gaydos’ work on Pearl or mid-90’s Daredevil but with originality and flair. As good as the art is, I read this book for the story. I want to see how James confronts the issues he’s holding on with his father and the mob of vampires which are destroying his city, Overall = 8.5/10