"Blood Feud" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Originally published as Blood Feud #1 - #5
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Drew Moss
Colored by Nick Filardi
2015, 148 Pages
Trade paperback released on June 22nd, 2016
In recent years, we've seen a few new takes on the vampire mythos such as American Vampire and The Strain. These updated the antiquated European-style Dracula into something more modern and far deadlier. Blood Feud joins that bunch with a southern brewed vampire that is more monster than man. The book picks up in the small town of Spider Creek, where a feud between two families gets escalated to supernatural proportions and the local residents pay the ultimate price. Now, a small group of survivors is all that stands between this terrifying breed of vampire and widespread destruction.
What immediately struck me about Blood Feud was artist Drew Moss' design for the vampire. They are unlike any version I've seen before, they may just be the scariest. When someone is turned, they become a hulking brute with giant teeth that are far too big for their mouth. It's almost like a rat. The jaw opens wide, as if it unhinges in an effort to feast upon human flesh. The hands and feet become claw-like, making it impossible for them to pass for human any longer. These are monsters through and through.
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I'm getting a little ahead of myself, as writer Cullen Bunn takes some time to introduce these creatures. He builds the tension with a whole lot of creepy, including some shady locals and a group of undead frogs, hopping along the street with their guts hanging out. There's something so chilling about that. It's completely unnatural.
There's a fair amount of local legend built into Blood Feud, most notably with the character of Big Jack Siever. The narrator explains that he's the strongest man he ever met and it shows. Big Jack wrestles a bull to the ground with his bare hands, and that's before he even meets the vampires. He's got all the makings of an urban legend that might get passed down from generation to generation in the area, like Paul Bunyan. Although it seems like a tall tale, Big Jack comes across as a down-to-earth, real person. He's the kind of guy you'd expect to meet in a small town like Spider Creek. What makes him most endearing is that he doesn't refer to these creatures as vampires. Instead, he insists on calling them “Draculas.”
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Speaking of the spiders, there's a strange connection between them and the vampires. There is an absolutely terrifying scene where a vampire calls out to the spiders in the area, causing them to storm a house and attack the folks inside. The very idea of hundreds of large spiders coming into my house through the windows, doors, and even the chimney is something that makes my skin crawl and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Nick Filardi's colors help set the tone of Blood Feud. There's an air of dread that permeates throughout the book, especially once things really get going. Everywhere these characters turn, they're met with death and heartbreak. There's a brief glimmer of hope as they manage to survive until morning and formulate a plan for what to do that evening. Everything is brighter and more vibrant.
Blood Feud reimagines vampires as a force of nature that will chill you to the very core. The creative team pulls no punches, delivering a book full of non-stop scares and southern-based horror mixed with solid artwork and dynamite character development. If you liked True Blood, you'll love Blood Feud.