Dark Red #1 // Review
Urban fantasy is always a favorite subject these days. From the Twilight series to Mercy Thompson, from True Blood to Supernatural, it’s pretty much everywhere in some form or another. Comic books are a little rarer in this respect, usually focusing on licensed versions of those properties rather than original stories. Coming from publisher Aftershock is a new story in the vein of urban fantasy.
Tim Seeley and Corin Howell have come together to work on this book, with Seeley taking hold of writing duties and Howell providing the art. Mark Englert is the colorist, while Marshall Dillon letters the pages.
Chip Ipswich is an average millennial in a dead-end job. Working nights at a 24-hour truck stop, Chip only encounters tired truckers, unlikable management, and drunks. Sometimes a mix. Chip also happens to be a Vampire and seems to be escaping something from his past by burying himself in the deep south.
The concept may be a well-worn one, but the execution is really well done. Tim Seeley and Corin Howell have a great way of introducing the reader to Chip and his lot in life, with a night in Chip’s life. The nightlife that Chip interacts with is a great way to set up his lot in unlife and provides some character development for Chip in the early pages. There seems to be more to Chip than meets the eye, hinting at his interactions with his close friend and food source Evie.
The artwork is well done, with some excellent body language and emotive faces. Most of the book is character interaction and setting up the story, which works perfectly for the book so far. Corin’s pencils and inks make Chip look like an everyman, unsuspecting until he begins to burn in the daylight or shows his fangs. The artwork seems to suffer slightly when the action happens, though, with mouths becoming nothing but jagged lines of teeth and expressions more manic. This can be intentional and does work to express how messed up Vampire-on-Vampire combat can be.
With an exciting start and a solid execution, it looks like Dark Red is leaning towards a slightly more traditional take on Vampires with the urban fantasy genre. The cliffhanger really hints at more that may take the book to strange and beautiful places, or crash and burn. Time and future issues will tell.