"Draw Blood #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Top Secret Press
Written by Hannu Kesola and Lee Newman
Illustrated by Todd Benstead, Ricardo Sanchez, Steven Bagatzky, Mauro Bueno, Antti Kosonen, and Helmut Racho
Colored by Julia Riitjoki, Memo Regalado, Steven Bagatzky, Ville Vuorinen, and Harri Honkala
2016, 32 Pages, $4.99
Another day, another new horror anthology. New ones are popping up left and right in the comic book industry as of late, showcasing existing and up-and-coming talent. Draw Blood is a packed title, fitting six stories in the span of a single 32-page issue. All but one is written by Hannu Kesola, and all but two include zombies. On the surface, this would be a negative, but fortunately, these tales go in unique directions that we don't usually see in the undead.
As there are so many stories included in Draw Blood, the creative teams waste no time in getting to the scares. The world is established, you learn of the monsters, then the twist hits and you're onto the next one. This is a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, you get these short, intriguing setups, but on the other, they end right when things get interesting. Each of these works as a primer for what could be a mini-series or at the bare minimum, a one-shot. I'd love to see any of them explored further.
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Of the stories collected here, “The Endless Walk” is a clear favorite. It's a zombie tale, but from the point of view of the undead. The narrator's mind is trapped in his deceased body as it shuffles through the streets of London, searching for human flesh. He yearns for death to end this tortured existence. Todd Benstead's design for the zombies is less a decaying corpse and more a dried husk of a human being. The skin is all shriveled up, giving it a look of pale dirt.
What makes the zombie stories stand out in a sea of them across the horror genre is their perspective. “The Endless Walk” is just one example, but there's another in Draw Blood that's shown from the same point of view, albeit with different circumstances. Additionally, “Back from the Dead” centers on a cancer patient who welcomes the undead into his hospital room in the hopes of “living” forever. This puts a refreshing spin on what has become a tired sub-genre.
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Draw Blood delivers horror in rapid fire bursts. Although it has a heavy focus on the undead, it provides more than enough new takes on the subject to keep things entertaining. As mentioned above, my only real qualm with the book is that I want to see more from these stories. Each one is filled with possibilities.