"V-Wars #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Illustrated by Alan Robinson
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 21st, 2014
Things got bloody fast in the war between vampires and humans. The government has created a special task force called V-8 to eliminate bloodsucking terrorist threats, but there are questions regarding the targets they choose and just how dangerous they actually are. A group of vampires are fighting back not with violence, but with the media. They've recruited TV journalist Yuki Nitobe to help tell their story and show how they're being mistreated. The latest issue of V-Wars puts a human face on the vampire epidemic and it'll make you think twice before reaching for the stake.
The beauty within the story of V-Wars is that vampirism isn't a choice. It's not like these people hated the sunlight and really liked the taste of blood. Everyone carries the genes for vampirism in junk DNA and they change at any time with no warning. The virus affects everyone differently. Some can still pass for human but others turn into bat-like creatures and still more end up somewhere in between. They're being treated like the new minority in the world, much like African Americans during the civil rights movement. While that era had its share of hate crimes, it wasn't an all-out war like what we have here.
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Yuki provides a human interest angle to the story. She's reporting on the facts that the rest of the media is ignoring or getting wrong. Since there's not a vampire TV channel, they don't have an opportunity to get their side of the story out there. She meets a vampire named Kyra Hanson who has been raped, beaten, and scarred solely due to the fact that she's different. She's a Quaker, so she doesn't believe in violence. As such, she has never fought back against her attackers, even though she could easily rip their throats out.
It's easy to paint vampires as bloodthirsty monsters, but this isn't the traditional version as seen in films for years. These people still have souls. They still have families. Once they can control the hunger, they can be perfectly normal and functioning members of society. I feel like I'm a correspondent with Yuki Nitobe now. Way to go, Jonathan Maberry. You got your point across to the extent that I'm now preaching in the review of your comic.
Maberry's story is accompanied by art from Alan Robinson. While the first issue was filled with blood and gore, this one takes a more serious approach. It pulls on the heartstrings with scenes like a mother being shut out of a hospital with her sick vampire child. Instead of showing a bunch of people being torn to shreds, we get real-life horror.
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Robinson also creates some great juxtapositions in panels. There's a shot of religious protestors with signs like “Go Back to Hell” and a drop of blood with a circle and a line through it. Then the next panel shows a group of vampire protestors in the same poses with signs that read “Got Blood?” and “Beats = Cattle”. (Humans are referred to as “Beats” while vampires are called “Bloods.”) There are also two phone conversations between Yuki and Luther, the doctor who was the center of the first issue. While they're talking, they're both doing similar things such as getting ready for bed or changing after a rough day out with vampires. It's a nice mirror image on the page that works very well.
V-Wars has grabbed hold of me and has not let go since the first shot was fired. There's a deeper story here and Maberry appears to just be scraping the service. I can't wait to see what else is coming down the line, as these first couple issues have provided a full background to both sides of the war.