"V-Wars #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Illustrated by Alan Robinson
2014, 28 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 30th, 2014
In most vampire stories, the bloodsuckers lurk in the shadows. They live in secret for fear that if their true nature is revealed, they'll be hunted like animals. Jonathan Maberry's V-Wars takes a different approach. They've risen up and are trying to take their rightful place at the top of the food chain. Mankind isn't ready to give up the crown though, so a war between the two species begins and everyone else is caught in the crossfire.
V-Wars looks at vampirism as a disease. Everyone carries the potential to become a vampire and the change can happen quickly and without notice. Someone could be entirely normal one day and they're ready to rip out your throat and feast on blood inside the next. This can create a sense of paranoia across the world as vampire discrimination begins.
|Click images to enlarge|
Professor Swann has been studying these creatures for some time. The comic opens with him holding his daughter, who has recently turned and brutally murdered his wife and son. Maberry does a fantastic job setting up the initial concept. He manages to cover the important beats, jumping ahead to specific moments that lead right to the action. There's no confusion over how much time has passed, or where Swann and his colleagues are in the scheme of things. Maberry is adapting this from his prose novel of the same name, so he's pretty familiar with the source material.
Once everyone is in place, Maberry pulls in a conspiracy. The Speaker of the House is assassinated as he's delivering a speech asking for peace between vampires and humans. Of course, nothing is what it seems. This is like the vampire version of JFK. Instead of a grassy knoll, there's a set of fangs. Swann quickly gets wrapped up in this and has to figure out who he can trust as the world is at war and innocent people are dying every day as a result.
Alan Robinson delivers some dynamite artwork in V-Wars. There are some great subtleties in some of the panels that you have to look out for like easter eggs. For example, right after the assassination, there's a shot of the crowd standing in shock with a vampire in the middle. The next page shows that same vampire ripping a man's head off. There's also a news reporter working with the vampires to try to tell their story. In almost every panel she's shown face forward, like she's constantly on the air, reading from a teleprompter.
|Click images to enlarge|
Robinson captured some great gore in this issue too. The assassination specifically stands out. There's a large panel showing the bullet tear through the Speaker's head, sending an eye and some teeth flying out the other side. Similarly, the battles between the vampires and the humans are intense, with blood and limbs flying everywhere. Throughout all this, you have Swann, who is the most human of the bunch. He's in over his head and it shows. The expressions on his face show just how unprepared he is to be thrust into a warzone.
I haven't read the novel, but excerpts are included in the back of the issue. This comic definitely makes me want to check it out though. I'm glad that Maberry is adapting his own work because sometimes things get lost in the transition to comics from prose. Granted, I can't tell at this point if anything is lost because I haven't read the book. I'm saying that Maberry is going to have the most intimate knowledge of the source material, so his voice in the comics is going to match up exactly.
In any case, V-Wars gets started with a bang...quite a few of them actually...and some decapitations too. Maberry gets things moving and jumps right into the battle. The conspiracy running through the events of the story is exciting and is on the level of the X-Files in terms of size and scope. Even if Swann can figure out who's behind everything, will it be enough to stop the war?