"Blood & Dust #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Action Lab Entertainment
Written by Michael R. Martin and Adam J. Orndorf
Illustrated by Roy Allan Martinez
Colored by Raymund Lee
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 7th, 2016
Judd Glenny is a vampire. He keeps to himself on the outskirts of the small town of Boggy Depot. There's an unwritten rule in the area: the townsfolk leave him and his family of vampires alone and in exchange, he'll save any wandering kids that get caught up in whatever lurks in the nearby swamp. Up until this point, we thought the scariest thing in Blood & Dust was Judd Glenny. This issue reveals the monster in that swamp and it will definitely give Judd a run for his money.
This creature is like a demonic version of Swamp Thing. It's tough not to make that comparison when you see a being made entirely of green plant life. While Swamp Thing can be creepy at times, there is nothing but terror with this monster. Artist Roy Allan Martinez has created a horrifying beast that will force you to give a wide berth of any wetlands in the near future. It towers over a normal man. Its head is topped with horns made of vines, creating a devil-like appearance. Its mouth does not open fully, as it's wrapped in roots and tendrils. The most unsettling aspect is the array of human skulls it wears atop each shoulder, like some sort of prize or medal.
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Even faced with such a madness-inducing creation, Judd Glenny does not back down. In fact, he literally spits in its face. He really is like a vampire Clint Eastwood, only he's not going to waste his time yelling at a chair or something. He takes the fight right to this beast, armed with a scythe, giving him the appearance of Death itself. The battle between a vampire Clint Eastwood and a demonic Swamp Thing might just be the most metal thing ever to adorn a comic book page.
This issue flashes back and forth between the past and the present, showing how Judd first ventured into the swamp to save a young girl and how that mirrors his actions today, as he does the same thing for one of his grandchildren. Despite the fact that it's been several years since that original encounter, Judd still has a lot of fight in him. He's a vampire after all, so it's not like he's aging like the rest of us.
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Martinez also does a great job bringing the forest to life. It gives the feeling of total isolation seeing one or two people standing alone, surrounded by massive trees for as far as the eye can see. I'm sure that cell phones don't get reception here. This just goes to show how cut off from the rest of the world Judd and his family are, which is exactly what he wants in life.
Blood & Dust takes an epic leap forward with this issue and works to redefine how vampires are seen in comics since 30 Days of Night. This is not a Dracula or Twilight-esque bloodsucker. You might compare it to True Blood in the Southern setting, but that's where the similarities end. Here is a man who wants to do right by his family. It just so happens that he has to drink blood to do that. He's got a code and he lives... or un-lives by it.