"Blood & Dust #1" 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 August 3rd, 2016
The age of the harsh yet fair grandparent may be coming to an end, but Judd Glenny is setting an example for his great grandkids. That may have something to do with the fact that they're all vampires. This pack is living out in the swamp away from civilization. That doesn't stop the rumors spreading in the nearby town, nor does it prevent the occasional child wandering about where he shouldn't. See, these vampires aren't the only dangerous things lurking in the woods.
The opening scene of Blood & Dust sets the tone for the savagery with a code of honor you can expect from Judd Glenny. One of his great-grandkids is running around causing mischief and he's had about all he can stand of it. He does what any sane grandfather would do and picks the kid up, pins him against the wall, and stabs him in the shoulder with a butcher knife. The boy is hanging there like an awkward wind chime. Of course, it doesn’t really hurt him because he's a vampire too, but it doesn't change the intensity of the scene either.
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We get a piece of Judd's backstory and more importantly, how he came to care for his three bloodsucking great-grandchildren. It's a tragic tale that works to simultaneously make you feel sorry for everyone involved and realize what a stand-up guy Judd is. He's not a raving vampire biting every red-blooded thing that moves. The man has morals and he expects his family to stay in line.
Much of this comes from artist Roy Allan Martinez's design for the character. He's basically a vampire version of Clint Eastwood; strong and sinewy yet full of wisdom. You can tell from the first moment you see him that he's not going to take anyone's shit. Although he's immortal, you can see the weight of the years on his face. His eyes come through red in the beginning of the book, which gives him an intensity that speaks volumes. They change to a blue later on, so maybe this is something that only comes out with the fangs.
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Although Judd is an intimidating individual, the scariest panel for my money doesn't even include him. There's a shot of one of his great-granddaughters early on when you first realize they're all vampires. She's grinning as she watches her brother get stabbed to the wall, revealing a set of fangs. Her eyes are wide and pleased with what she sees. It's a chilling shot.
Judd Glenny is a character capable of standing toe-to-toe with the legends of the vampire genre. I'd love to see him make Dracula sit down with a glare. He's a great person to build a story around and there's a helluva tale coming here. This is an ideal first issue, as it introduces mystery and intrigue in such a way that will have you begging for more. The final page is easily one of the most badass images you'll see all year.